Just to warn you - this review of the 2013 PGA Expo in Las Vegas is a long one.  But what would you expect?  It's about shopping - just at a trade show...not a mall!

The good, with Whitney : Walking in to the 2013 PGA Expo in Las Vegas, I was unsure of what to expect.  How would the vendors respond to bloggers, and more importantly, how would they respond to three young women?  We immediately sought out the clothing and accessories.  After all, women's golf fashion is our thing!  The first booth that we stumbled upon was the Navika Golf Gifts.  The bling caught my eye immediately! 

They were selling ball counters and ball marker necklaces, and most of the pieces were accented with Swarovski crystals.  The representative was very helpful, and also interested in our suggestions and what we had to say about women's golf fashion.  I purchased one of the ball counters and will provide a review of it once I take it on a test drive!   

The next booth we visited was the Catherine Wingate Golf Apparel booth.  Her functional dresses are what immediately caught my eye!  In bold navy and bright white, the dresses looked comfortable and versatile.  They even had a one piece dress with built in shorts - a rarity in women's golf dresses.  Catherine's wearing it below, right.  Looks versatile, doesn't it?

I definitely hope to give Catherine Wingate dresses a try!  I felt immediately drawn to this booth and both representatives did not disappoint with their welcoming and informative nature.  In fact - at many of the more 'boutique' expo booths, the story was the same : females in the golf industry, feeling like there just aren't enough cute, functional and fashionable golf clothing choices out there.  Yet.

This was definitely true for GolfHER Girl as well.  While the patterns at GolfHER were not necessarily up my alley, owner Sarah Schultz's  passion for golfing and the desire to create great clothing for women was refreshing and exciting! 

Last but not least, Lizzie Driver was a great booth to stop by.  The representatives had us sit at their ordering table and view all of their spring pieces.  For those of you who've never attended a trade show, the ordering table is prime realty!  Even though both reps knew we did not have plans to order from their line, they sat with us showing each piece with pride, discussing the fabrics and patterns. 

Being a female golfer, I would be remiss in not discussing shoes!  By far, ECCO had the most exciting new collection of spikes at the show.  Bright pinks, yellows and teals plus great details make their spring collection the one to watch!

Skechers also presented a well-priced, versatile golf shoe line they're introducing this Spring 2014.  I'm looking forward to trying on the slip-on variety and their lighter golf shoe options...

With great golf shoes, you need a great belt, right?  Druh Belts had the cutest butterfly buckles in pink, purple and rainbow colors... 

The belts were made of premium leather and look like they would really withstand the Vegas heat.  The inner side of the strap has no color so it doesn't bleed onto your shorts when you sweat.  A plus!  I really hope to be able to provide a review on these fantastic accessories in the future!  ;)

Several of the bigger name vendors ignored us completely - but a clear and outstanding exception to this rule was Ping.  The representative from Ping, Jeff Knapp, was very friendly and recognized the value of amateur women golfers and our opinions.

Jeff was willing to show us some of the women's clothing (which was very cute and had great feminine details) even though he was with a buying customer.  He was a shining example of being able to value his product and the needs of the customer. 

The somewhat bad, with Dawn : Amongst the 100 apparel exhibitors occupying half of the expo floor, I must say I was most excited to visit the Puma and Adidas booths. After making my way through rows of clothes and accessories, we finally arrived at space 135 - Cobra Puma Golf.  For a moment, I thought that we were invisible because of the 5 representatives working the booth, we were acknowledged by only one.  As I scanned the merchandise, I was confused because I couldn't find any ladies golf apparel.  

Then, I looked down.  Behind the counter, hanging on a rod no higher than my hip was a four foot section of ladies golf clothes dragging on the floor hidden from public eye.  Disgusted, I just walked away.  Perhaps this is why I was not greeted as I entered their booth, they couldn't find the ladies golf clothes either!  Sure would have liked to see the skirt below...

After exploring all of the ladies golf booths, the story was like a broken record; women are designing golf apparel because they are tired of complaining about everything wrong with the selection currently available.  Although some of the designers don't even golf, evident in their fabric selections, they have a passion for golf fashion and that is exciting!  I invite them to play 9 holes with me someday in 114 degree heat in their designer non-breathable threads, or send me a sample and I will let them know it performs.  For example, we were super excited about the patterns on a few of Haute Shot Golf's skorts, but the fabric was a bit scratchy and way to heavy for playing in warmer weather.

Overall - most of the ladies presenting their product or designs were very creative and enthusiastic about their line.  I was pleased with the turnout of female golf apparel vendors this year at the Vegas PGA Expo, I am still in shock as to how most of the leaders in the golf apparel industry seem to dismiss the female golfers.  I realize this was not the LPGA Expo, but some of the big name exhibitors won't even make eye contact with you!  Confusing. 

However, Ping Golf has figured it out!  With a booth crammed full of people, the Ping representatives were all welcoming and helpful.  Not only were they interested in our golf game, they were curious to know how we liked their clothing.  Let's face it, golf is a male dominated sport.  From golf expo representation to golf course pro shops, men typically hold these positions.  However, golf is also a profit driven industry from golf tees to golf clothing...and women love to shop!  If the golf industry can figure out how to become more female friendly, they may actually see their profits increase!  I'm going to give all the men in the golf industry a free clue; communicate and pay attention to what the lady golfers want, and we will buy it!

Last but not least, Adidas Golf.  I was happy to see there were two sections of apparel, nothing very exciting, but at least it wasn't hidden behind a counter like Puma's!  It would have been helpful to have the dude sitting at the hightop come over, say hello, show us the collection and perhaps give us a catalog, but he was busy on his smart phone, maybe texting his girlfriend?

...and the not so ugly, with Shelley : Okay, I lied.  Boo-hiss to the larger vendors mentioned above that flat out ignored us!  For all they knew, we could have been a pack of Tony Hsieh's Zappos minions - scouting for new golf lines, the next Win McMurry, or one of Stacey Lewis's new stylists (Love your guts and your game, girl.  Would just love to see you in something besides colored khaki's and a plain button up!).

My favorite of the show?  Lizzie Driver - they have my heart!  From their insanely soft fabrics to their attention to detail - Lizzie Driver is almost there!  

The only criticism I could muster would be the price point.  The sad fact is clothes get ruined quicker when you're exercising in them.  That means they're somewhat more disposable, and I feel their price should more accurately represent that.  $98 for a top, $136 for a skort, or $200 for a dress like this?  Yikes.  Perhaps a review of their golf clothing is needed to justify the price (wink wink) but I'm still on the fence!

I loved the fact that there were so many small companies at this expo based in the USA and handcrafting accessories for golf.  One of my favorite was Stitch Golf - they had the coolest retro handmade head covers and drawstring bags for tees and such...

Although not made in the States, I also love these handcrafted golf shoes from Lambda.  To somewhat quote that scene in Jerry Macguire - you had me at wingtip!  It would be hard to choose a favorite pair, that's for sure.  The only thing I wasn't so sure about was the thickness of the leather.  Seems like they would be hard to break in...

Sarah Schultz’s GolfHER line

Sarah Schultz from GolfHER Girl deserves a ginormous shout out - we were walking down the aisle, she spotted our name tags, and steered us all into her booth.  Loved her outgoing personality and her obvious commitment to the game and the women that play it.  I agree with Whitney, some of her fabric choices felt too 'old' for my taste - but I did appreciate her attention to detail.  For example - the flattering darts and unique collar on her 'Little Black Dress'...
Sarah Schultz’s GolfHER line

That's (pregnant) Sarah above - sporting a t-shirt that read 'golfing for two' and meeting Marty Haskell, the man behind Golf Digest.  Apparently Marty's a huge fan of GolfHER's lbd!

Summing it all up...
It's unanimous : smaller businesses with  women at the helm really know how to cater to their female constituents!  While some of the vendors aren't getting it right with fabrics and details, it was refreshing to see a few really dedicated to and working toward that direction.  PING?  You made yourself 3 new fans by showing not only your excitement about our project - but your obvious excitement about your golf clothing.  That attitude is precisely what is needed to promote the game of golf to all players - especially amateurs and non-golfers interested in getting started.  

Also unanimous?  The bigger vendors, such as Puma, Adidas, and Callaway were huge disappointments.  Not only were the males representing their booths unfriendly, they didn't even greet us as we looked around.  While we understand that their primary goal is to get orders at this show, they didn't even effectively display their women's gear.

Overall - the PGA Expo was a validation of the fact that there are better golf clothes available, even though the selection at Dick's Sporting Goods would never make you think that!    It was a truly enlightening and exhausting day that made all three of us want to go out and immediately play 18 holes, testing the clothes we had just been introduced to at the show!  

Since it was dark, however, we had to settle for dreaming about the expo and our future plans.  That, and  enjoying delicious drinks and dinner at She in Las Vegas's amazing Aria Hotel.  What a perfect way to end an inspiring day!

Whitney, dreaming of becoming Zappos first female Chief Golf Officer.  Shelley, coveting Win McMurray's job (but not her boyfriend Michael Phelps), and Dawn - brainstorming about transforming Stacey Lewis's look (but nothing else!)...