Buoyed by a robust demand for education and a jam-packed trade show floor, the recently completed 2014 Golf Industry Show, Feb. 1-6 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, proved to be a runaway hit, judging by both the instant analysis provided by attendees through social media channels and the event's final registration statistics.
Attendees took to Twitter to call the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's (GCSAA) annual education conference and related trade show "productive and successful," and lauded it for its "great networking, exposure and experience." Tweets complimented the "awesome education and trade show," and the "great networking and learning." Longtime GCSAA member Jerry Coldiron, Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS), said his trip to Orlando was, "my 35th golf show, and I would put this one in my top three."
The numbers back up those anecdotal rave reviews. Total attendance in Orlando was 14,147, an 8 percent increase over the 2013 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. In the classroom, GCSAA's education program only solidified its reputation as the industry's gold standard, with 5,192 education seats sold, an increase of 15 percent versus 2013. And on the trade show floor, the good news continued with 6,845 qualified buyers exploring the latest products and services offered by 561 exhibitors spread out over 184,500 square feet of exhibit space. Those numbers represent increases of 14, 9 and 7 percent, respectively, over San Diego.
"While meeting or exceeding all of our internal, pre-event goals is a definite win-win for both GCSAA and its members, the most-satisfying victory that came out of this year's Golf Industry Show was the overwhelmingly positive responses that we've heard from attendees and exhibitors alike," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. "We'll obviously dig deeper into the week through our annual post-GIS surveys, but it's gratifying to hear that the event largely delivered on its promise to help those in attendance connect, learn and grow. And the enthusiasm that we've heard for next year's visit to San Antonio, Texas (Feb. 21-26, 2015), makes those responses even more rewarding."
Here are some highlights from the 2014 Golf Industry Show in Orlando:
Ihms takes GCSAA reins at annual meeting, election
Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, director of grounds maintenance at the Country Club of Little Rock (Ark.) was elected GCSAA president during the association''s annual meeting Feb. 6. Prior to joining the Country Club of Little Rock in 2005, Ihms served in similar roles at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas; Pine Forest Country Club in Houston; Walden on Lake Houston Country Club in Humble, Texas; and Golf Crest Country Club in Pearland, Texas.
John J. O'Keefe, CGCS, the director of golf course management at Preakness Hills Country Club in Wayne, N.J., was elected vice president; and Peter J. Grass, CGCS, the superintendent at Hilands Golf Club in Billings, Mont., was elected secretary/treasurer.
Bill H. Maynard, CGCS at St. Albans Country Club in St. Louis, and Rafael Barajas, CGCS at Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights, Calif., were elected to two-year terms on the board of directors. Mark F. Jordan, CGCS, natural resource leader at Westfield Group Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, was appointed by the board to fill the remaining year of Grass' two-year term as a director.
Darren J. Davis, the superintendent at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, Fla., and John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club, remain on the board with one year remaining in their two-year director terms.
Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, general manager at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., will serve on the board for one year as immediate past president. Sandy G. Queen, CGCS, manager of golf course operations for the city of Overland Park (Kan.), retires from the board after serving the last year as immediate past president.
Terrapins capture top spot in Collegiate Turf Bowl
The University of Maryland capped off a year of dominance in turfgrass competitions by winning the 20th GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl, presented in partnership with John Deere Golf, on Feb. 6. The winners of the last two Sports Turf Managers Association turf bowls, Maryland's Team 52 - made up of Matthew Park, Brian Hogan, Ryan Higgins and Brent Waite, and advised by Kevin Mathias, Ph.D. - took home the top prize in the GCSAA event that tests students on turfgrass species, disease, weed and insect identification, as well as other items crucial in the career of any turfgrass manager.
Maryland's accomplishment netted the team a $4,000 grand prize, the traveling turf bowl trophy and a spot on the maintenance team at TPC Sawgrass during the 2014 Players Championship in May.
Michigan State University's Team 56 took second place in the competition, while Penn State University's Team 49 earned third-place honors. For a complete rundown of the top-10 finishers, visit http://gcm.typepad.com/gcm/2014/02/top-x-for-turf-bowl-xx.html.
Florida superintendent wins GCSAA National Championship
Deron Zendt, the golf course superintendent at Banyan Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., held off a pack of challengers to win his first GCSAA National Championship on the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Resort on Feb. 3. A 15-year member of GCSAA, Zendt finished with a two-day total of 5-under-par 139. His opening round 69 was the best score of the tournament among the 89 players competing in the event's top flight. All told, 401 competitors participated in some aspect of the GCSAA Golf Championships, which took place at five Orlando-area golf facilities and were presented in partnership with The Toro Co. for the 20th consecutive year.
David Brown, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, Colo., won the senior division of the National Championship at 1 under par (72-71-143). It marked the third time he has won that honor since GCSAA began awarding it in 2010. Brown also won the overall championship in 2011. The chapter team gross division title went to the No. 1 team from the Florida GCSA. The chapter team net division crown went to the team from the California GCSA. For complete tournament results, visit http://gcsaa.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gcsaa14/event/gcsaa141/contest/66/leaderboard.htm.
Association honors presented to industry luminaries
GCSAA presented its top awards during the Opening Session Feb. 5, including the awarding of the Old Tom Morris Award - the association's highest honor - to World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. The Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Stephen Cadenelli, CGCS Retired; Celmson's Bruce Martin, Ph.D.; and Rutgers' Bruce Clarke, Ph.D.
Other awards presented included:
The President's Award for Environmental Stewardship, given to Roger Stewart, CGCS, from TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn.
The GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards, presented in partnership with Rain Bird and Syngenta, given to:
Overall and National Public: Paul L. Carter, CGCS, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tenn., the Tennessee GCSA
National Private: Scott R. Bower, Martis Camp Club, Truckee, Calif., the Sierra Nevada GCSA
National Resort: Chad B. Corp, CGCS, Mountain Ridge, Thompsonville, Mich., the Michigan GCSA
International: Andrew Hardy, Pheasant Run Golf Club, Sharon, Ontario, Canada, the Ontario GCSA
The Leo Feser Award, which honors the best superintendent-written story in GCSAA's flagship publication, Golf Course Management, given to Logan Freeman, the superintendent at Mountain Branch Golf Course in Joppa, Md.
The Excellence in Government Relations Award, given to Anthony Williams, CGCS, from Stone Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club by Marriott.
Closing Session leaves them laughing
What started with a bang at the Opening Night Celebration and the Opening Session ended with a roomful of laughter at the first-ever Closing Celebration, presented in partnership with John Deere Golf. Featuring a performance by comedian Bill Engvall and the official announcement of the Collegiate Turf Bowl winners, the event played out in front of a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,000 and put an official end to the week's activities.
Next stop: San Antonio
The 2015 Golf Industry Show is headed to the Lone Star State and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Feb. 21-26. This marks the first time in more than two decades that GCSAA's education conference and trade show have visited the Alamo City.
"We're absolutely thrilled that we're able to take the Golf Industry Show back to San Antonio," Evans said. "Our members have expressed nothing but enthusiasm about our decision to return to San Antonio, and we're confident that the momentum created by our successful visit to Orlando this year will carry over into our visit to Texas next February."
Other top headlines from Orlando
Toro commits $50,000 to Rounds 4 Research
San Diego to host 2019 Golf Industry Show
Toro extends GCSAA Golf Championship sponsorship through 2017
About the Golf Industry Show
The Golf Industry Show is presented by GCSAA and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), along with participating partners the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), the National Golf Foundation (NGF), the United States Golf Association (USGA), the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA), and supporting partner the Society of Golf Appraisers (SGA).
About GCSAA and the EIFG
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org. The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game.