If the outcomes from the recently concluded Carolinas GCSA conference and trade show are any indication, the malaise that has marked the golf industry in recent years may finally be lifting.
The largest regional golf course management event in the country boasted attendance of more than 2,000 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The event drew record levels of industry partner participationg, with the trade show floor selling out with close to 200 individual companies represented and a new record for gross revenues of more than $650,000. A total of 1,326 seminar seats were sold across 28 different seminars, which were presented in partnership with Syngenta.
"The record support from our industry partners in terms of exhibit booth sales and event partnerships is obviously outstanding for our association but hopefully it also reflects an upward trend across the golf industry," Carolinas GCSA Executive Director Tim Kreger said in a news release. "Golf still has a lot of work to do but it is extremely heartening to know that so many companies remain loyal to our association and that some new ones are in a position to join them in that support. This has to be seen as a positive sign."
The highlights from the Carolinas GCSA conference and show included:
Members elected Brian Powell, CGCS from Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, NC as their new president, taking over from Steve Hamilton, CGCS from The Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach. Bill Kennedy, CGCS from Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, SC is the new vice-president, and David Lee, from Hope Valley Country Club in Durham, NC was elected secretary-treasurer. Members also elected Chris DeVane, from Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, NC to the board of directors.
Other show highlights included George Fisher receiving the Carolinas GCSA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award after more than 40 years in the golf industry, first as a golf course superintendent and since 1998 in sales and customer relations management with Smith Turf and Irrigation.
Smith Turf and Irrigation and the Toro Company were presenting partners for the golf championship won by Matthew Wharton, from Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, NC. Wharton won his first superintendent championship after a scorecard playoff against 2011 champion Jim Knaffle, CGCS from the International Club of Myrtle Beach. Both shot rounds of 79 on the testing Fazio course at Barefoot Resort, which was one of three courses used for the event which attracted a field of 327 golfers.
Students from Horry-Georgetown Technical College won the annual Carolinas GCSA Turf Bowl competition for the second year in a row. The Turf Bowl was presented in partnership with Precision Laboratories.
About 600 people attended the annual Carolinas Night at the Beach celebration presented in partnership with Tri-State Pump and Control and Jacobsen. The crowd alternated between two adjacent night clubs at Broadway at the Beach.
David Jacobs, CGCS from Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount, NC won the $5,000 grand prize in the 27-Hole Challenge. The contest presented in partnership with John Deere Golf, Revels Turf and Tractor, Greenville Turf and Tractor and ShowTurf provided $12,500 in prizes for golf course superintendents and assistant superintendents.
Randy Mangum, of Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply, won the annual sporting clays championship contested by more than 60 shooters and presented in partnership with Bayer Crop Science.