The 63rd PGA Merchandise Show, the industry’s annual “MAJOR of Golf Business,” came to a close Jan. 29, in Orlando, after successfully marking the kickoff to the PGA of America’s Centennial Celebration and welcoming more than 42,000 golf industry professionals from 91 countries around the world.
For those who have never been, here is the week at a glance from my perspective. To preface, for the last year or so, I’ve been the Creative Services Manager for the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. The last few months a lot of my time has been dedicated to prepping for the PGA Show.
Our staff stayed in two houses that were about 30 minutes outside of Orlando. The Marketing Team stayed in one house and the Sales/Executive Team stayed in another. Tyler was designated as the van driver for our house.
Terry Koehler, our President/CEO insisted on cooking dinner for the staff on several occasions and I have to admit, we were all very impressed! Everything he made for the 15 or 16 of us was pretty tasty.
The first day of the PGA Show is called Demo Day. Thousands of PGA Professionals and invited golf retailers then previewed and personally test the newest equipment, training aids and accessories from more than 100 top golf companies at the 42-acre practice facility, to create the world’s largest professional golf demo event.
We had about 100 feet on the range and when we arrived first thing in the morning, the whole team worked together to set everything up.
Here is a pic of the on-site staff for this year’s PGA Show.
While I was walking around trying to get ideas for next year, I was able to meet PGA Tour player Bubba Watson and ride on Golf Board. It was awesome.
It’s exciting to see our staff get interviewed about the product and to hear how excited everyone is for our new products.
Despite everyone being on their feet for the entire day, everyone was in such high spirits.
One of my tasks throughout the year is to work with the DesignShop and create our booth. Last year our booth was more enclosed and this year we decided to knock down the walls and give it more of an open flow.
Katelyn and Melinda manned the front desk and directed people towards our product. The Sales Team answered any and all questions about the product and I took photos of everyone.
I also managed to find another Golf Board. Below is one of the magazine ads I created that was printed in the PGA Show Directory.
Being at the PGA Show is overwhelming because of how large the convention center is but you often run into people you haven’t seen for a while. Zach was a former co-worker at the TGA and it was fun catching up with him. He know works in national accounts for Callaway.
I also ran into Bill, who was another co-worker from the TGA. He is now with Insperity.
The biggest blast from the past was seeing Ray, who is the head golf professional at Elkins Lake Country Club. Our family membership in Huntsville was at Elkins and I’ve known Ray since I was probably in 2nd grade. It was great to see him.
Rick Shiels is a pretty big YouTube golf personality who has done a lot of great reviews of our products. Tyler was pretty excited to meet him. PGA Tour golfer Hal Sutton also stopped by our booth to meet with Terry.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this year was a success for the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show. In fact, we were considered show stoppers. If the pictures above weren’t enough for you, please enjoy this recap video. 🙂
This year’s Christmas was pretty interesting to say the least. The original game plan was for the four Cochrans to spend Christmas with Grandma in Kalamazoo. I was going to fly from DFW to Grand Rapids and J4 would drive up from Houston while Mom and Dad would drive up from Troy, AL.
For health reasons, Mom and Dad were unable to make the drive to Michigan. It was very weird to think that we wouldn’t be spending Christmas with them, but at least we all got to spend Thanksgiving together. See my blog post on Thanksgiving here.
I was originally going to fly to Michigan with Chloe at 3pm on Wednesday. That didn’t happen. We waited in the airport for 8+ hours to finally be told our flight was cancelled. I will say, I was very impressed that DFW Airport now has dog bathrooms. We went about 3 times and I know Chloe was thankful for that. Because the flight cancellation was a mechanical issue, American Airlines gave me several food vouchers and put me up in a nearby hotel, which was nice. What wasn’t nice was that I didn’t get my luggage back for my new unexpected overnight trip.
The next morning Chloe and I caught a 6:00 AM shuttle bus back to the airport and were able to catch the DFW to Chicago and Chicago to Kalamazoo flight.
After a long two days of travel, I was so glad to be in Kalamazoo and see Grandma at the airport. She met me by the baggage claim area. We waited for my luggage. And waited. And waited. And then I found out my luggage went to Grand Rapids, not Kalamazoo. I was in desperate need of fresh clothes so then proceeded to wear a combination of clothes donated to me by John 4 and Grandma.
Since it was just the three of us, we kept Christmas Eve very low-key. For dinner we had crackers with brie, wings and my favorite cauliflower recipe.
Christmas was lovely. We all are very blessed and thankful for the friends, family and opportunities that we all have.
Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and Kringle from Aunt Shirley. For the last several years Shirley has provided us with the best Kringle. It’s so good.
Christmas dinner ended up being rather low-key as well. Our cousins Will and Sue came over for Papa Murphy’s pizza.
On Saturday night the three of us met another cousin, Michael, for dinner followed by Forever Plaid. This was my fourth time to see Forever Plaid and I just love the music. It’s very cute.
One of the things that we’ve been meaning to do was to go through and document all of the treasures Grandma has collected over the years and write down what country everything is from.
Here are some of the cool things she has:
An original painting from Siberia and a wooden carved walking stick from China.
An elephant drum from Thailand and prayer wheel from Tibet.
A boomerang from Australia and a handmade clay jug from New Zealand.
Other treasures in her house include:
Sunday night I was supposed to fly back to DFW from Grand Rapids. After waiting several hours in that airport, my flight was cancelled. Big surprise. The next flight to Texas wouldn’t have been until Tuesday night… and there was an ice storm coming so more than likely, that would be cancelled as well. What a pickle.
J4 and Grandma were originally planning on driving to Troy, AL on Monday to see my parents. Since I didn’t want to risk staying in Michigan and possibly having another flight on Tuesday get cancelled, I checked to see what flights were available Tuesday morning out of Montgomery, AL. Low and behold, they had multiple options so John and Grandma picked me back up from the airport late Sunday night and the plan was for me to join them in the 17 hour car ride the next day. Please note, the picture below was taken of Grandma at about 11:30pm. I asked her if she had started packing yet for our 6:30am departure and she laughed and said, “no, I’m doing my nails now” to which I replied, “don’t rush into it” and of course, we laughed.
After driving 852 miles, half of which was in the rain, we finally made it to Troy, AL.
My flight was early the next morning, but it was really nice to get to see my parents for a few hours. Although this isn’t the house I grew up in, it’s still home.
2015 was really good to me and I’m excited to see what this new year brings my way. Whatever it is, I’m ready.
For the last couple of years our family has spent Thanksgiving at homes we’ve found on VBRO.com. It has worked out really well and we’ve had a blast each year.
We stayed in a cute house near Gun Barrel City, TX that sat on a huge canal. The house had hard wood floors throughout, a large living room and 3+ bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms.
Chloe loved looking out the window at the blonde squirrel that lived in the backyard. Please note, she is wearing her fishing jacket and yes, that is a fish in her pocket.
We ate so well – for breakfast one morning we had Aunt Shirley’s coffee cake. She wasn’t able to make it, but we made her recipe in her honor.
The weather was pretty terrible, so we took full advantage of being lazy and catching up on sleep.
Clare was able to join us for the entire break and we had a great time playing games and watching one of the best Academy Award winning movies ever – Death Becomes Her.
Mom made most of the side dishes (with Clare’s help) and Dad took care of the turkey. J4 was in-charge of taste testing everything before it actually got to the table. I made a mean buttermilk pie (my fav).
We had the normal side dishes – green beans, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, mom’s white bread stuffing and mashed potatoes.
We ate around 2:30 and then pretty much took it easy for the rest of the day.
I think this is pretty common now-a-days – but it is kinda’ funny (and sad) to look up and see everyone (myself included) on their phone and/or tablet. But it’s the world we live in.
Nathan and Freddie joined us on Friday and Saturday. We were originally going to play golf, but the weather was too terrible to do anything outside. Freddie was just as happy though looking out the window keeping an eye on things.
While I worked for the Texas Golf Association/Legends Junior Tour, I was fortunate enough to meet some really special people and one of those was junior golfer James Ragan. James was a young man from Corpus Christi who played on our Junior Tour and when he was 13 was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. The five-year survival rate for this orphan of an orphan cancer is 20 percent. During his life James founded Triumph Over Kid Cancer and brought awareness to osteosarcoma, which it desperately needs. To date, TOKC has raised over $3 million for cancer research at MD Anderson. James’ family – his mom, dad and sister Mecklin – are unlike any family I’ve ever met. I don’t think I could ever write words to accurately describe this family. James lost his battle to cancer in February of 2014 but during his last year Geraldine Meadows and Jamila Rowell began filming a documentary about his life. It’s been several years in the making, but Until 20 had its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival. Mecklin was kind enough to invite me two of my old co-workers to the premiere. Since Nathan’s sister recently moved to Austin, we had been talking about going for a weekend anyway, so this ended up being a great time to take our trip to Austin.
The premiere was full of a lot of emotions – for everyone. The Paramount Theater was packed and I’m sure everyone there had some special connection to James. Behind us in line was his 6th grade teacher and she pointed out several other of his teachers. Kellen and I also saw several other LJT golfers/alums who also grew close to James. Below is the trailer for Until 20. This film was incredibly well done and after the AFF, this will be showing at the Virginia Film Festival as well.
After dinner, Nathan and I walked next door to the Roaring Fork. OMG. Their food was amazing. The next day was our tourist day. Nathan went to the University of Texas so spent several years living in Austin and since I’ve only ever been to the city for work, I was really excited for him to show me around. We walked around campus…
stumbled upon a small Halloween festival…
And found a fun little food truck park.
Nathan is a huge pasta man and more specifically he loves his beef stroganoff. We met his parents, Kate and Louis for dinner at Carmelo’s – which was ah-mazing! We had an awesome dinner and yes, I’m the weirdo that takes home everyone’s leftovers. So good!
Sunday morning we had brunch by Kate’s place and then met her and Louis at the TMBBQ Fest. Y’all. You know I love to eat and even though I was already full from the previous couple of days, I powered through and ate several really good samples. We had a blast and couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.
The past week was so busy for us – opening night of Kinky Boots in Fort Worth with my musical partner in crime Cat…
a scary haunted house with his cousin Lee…
a TCU game with Lee and his wife Blair…
and a jam-packed weekend in Austin. Phew! I’m exhausted but can’t wait to go back!