FAIRWAY 2003, the 9th Golf Course Congress with Exhibition, which was held in Munich at the end of February, received a very positive response from both visitors and exhibitors. A total of 2,017 visitors (2002: 1,957) were counted on the two days of the fair; of whom 1,532 (2002: 1,512) came from Germany. The remaining visitors came from 25 (2002: 27) countries.
The 119 (2002: 125) exhibitors from 13 (2002: 7) countries presented a complete range of new equipment and services for golf course development, planning, construction and care, as well as equipment for driving ranges and clubhouses.
The high quality of speakers and the attendance at the seminars received special praise. On the day before the exhibition began almost 100 participants took part in the panel discussion “Changes in the golf market”. Libor Jirà¡sek from Golfer s. r. o. in the Czech Republic, who has attended Fairway every year, would have preferred more international topics to be discussed.
“Every year I take part in congresses, conferences and seminars looking for the right way I should go,” he said. “I think of Fairway in Munich as a conference of European range and scope. This year was a little bit different. The panel discussion was really only about the German market. Germany might be the leading market in continental Europe but please think about golf markets in neighbouring countries and invite people from all of Europe to a European conference.”
Fairway continues to justify its claim to be the sector’s number one meeting place in mainland Europe and most exhibitors were pleased with the show. “Interest in golf continues to grow, as can be seen by the numbers of exhibitors and visitors,” said Götz Mecklenburg of Harradine Golf while Rolf Krà¼ger, director, Rain Bird Deutschland GmbH commented, “We were very pleasantly surprised. The development of many new projects in Eastern Europe is a sign that there is plenty going on.”
Mick Claxton, Sheltons Sportsturf Drainage Solutions, was impressed by the number and quality of the enquiries that were made. “With a similar climate to that of the UK,” he said “we feel that Germany has potential as a large market for sportsturf drainage equipment.”
The American firm of golf course architects, Arthur Hills, Steve Forrest and Associates, was a first time exhibitor. “The show was an excellent introduction into the German golf market,” said vice president, Quentin F.J. Lutz. “We have developed several courses in Europe but were looking for greater insight into the central European markets. This show was an excellent forum to meet industry professional from this region and to develop relationships to better service our European clients in the future”
An exhibitor of several years experience and a past president of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, Simon Gidman, said, “From a personal point of view I thought the show was a successful event. The stands were interesting and whilst the number of enquiries was not as high as they have been in previous years this has been true of most shows we have been to recently. However the show does attract a number of clients interested in golf development and certainly from the Institute’s point of view it is a show we are keen to support in the future.”
The European business manager for Jencess Software, Kirsten J. Mackenzie, said that this was the first year Jencess had exhibited at Fairway. She was delighted with the show.
“We are relatively new to this part of the EU market,” she said. “It was as much about collecting information about the nature of the market as it was about creating new business. We were pleasantly surprised at the demographic profile of many of our visitors; it was far more international than we had anticipated. We presented several demonstrations and collected leads from golf clubs as far a field as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Obviously German visitors were more frequent, but it was great to also see visitors representing clubs from Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.
“The show provided a fantastic opportunity for us to meet new contacts and gather leads, in addition to this though it was an opportunity to forge new relationships and partnerships with other companies in the field. There is a lot of scope for cooperation and co-marketing in this business and trade shows such as Fairway provide the perfect setting. It is a place to create new relationships and to strengthen existing ones, with clients and partners alike.
Next year the 10th Fairway Golf Course Congress with Exhibition will be held in Munich on 26th and 27th February.