ORLANDO, FLORIDA | We may have discovered the most crucial meeting of PGA Merchandise Show week.
For the past 33 years, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club has hosted what is humbly referred to as the Club Professional Invitational. Held prior to the merchandise show each January, the tournament includes the top 100 club professionals from the finest private facilities around the world.
There are no television cameras, no gallery ropes, no agents or equipment reps walking the range with their wares. But for those inside the industry, this is the Rolls-Royce of networking. You are playing in a tournament with the greatest collection of club professionals anywhere. If a young man or woman prayed for the opportunity to get into the business under extraordinary leadership, this setting would be nirvana.
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For a small group in a niche industry, this is the highlight of their year in terms of playing the game. But that’s only if they get into the field. More than 600 invitations are sent and if you don’t respond within 48 hours, there’s a good chance you are headed to the waitlist.
Warning e-mails come cascading in from fellow head pros to urge their friends to confirm their spot. Group texts are started in desperate situations where time is running out. It’s like receiving a wedding invitation from the royal family.
“The e-mail came out on Sunday night and I was away so I couldn’t ...
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