It is all systems go for Golf Live 2012 (18-20 May), as the team at Golf Live seeks to improve the product for returning and new visitors.
Golf Live organisers Brand Events and IMG are preparing for its 2012 edition, building on the firm foundation of two successful events in 2010 and 2011.
This year’s Golf Live show, held at the prestigious London Golf Club in May, won many plaudits (the show has already won an industry award in the events business): 12,915 spectators came along over three days to see a bevy of top Tour professionals give greater insight into their shot-making and personalities; visitors sampled a wealth of golf equipment, accessory, destination and fashion products and services, much of which they could try and buy there and then for themselves. In many respects the show’s format and character has been a breath of fresh air. As other leisure sectors had been pushing the boundaries for public consumer events for some time, the golf industry offered a gap in the market to an enterprising team wishing to stage a new type of golf show, which would be more interactive, where consumers could try the latest golf clubs and golf equipment in an attractive setting and, crucially, get unique access to some of the stars from the Tours who help to make golf the glamorous sport it has become.
Organising companies Brand Events and IMG created that event with Golf Live, starting in 2010 withStokeParkas the venue and moving to London Golf Club in 2011. The skill sets of both companies complement each other with innovative event creation and formatting spliced with talent management and brand consultancy.
Visitors to the London Golf Club in May were able to watch, listen to and ask questions of a star-studded line-up that included European Ryder Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie and a host of major champions and top professionals such as Darren Clarke, Michael Campbell, Ian Woosnam, Retief Goosen, David Howell, Thomas Levet, Nick Dougherty, Carly Booth and Rhys Davies.
Colin Montgomerie, who is an ambassador for Golf Live, was delighted with the second edition of the show. He said: “Golf Live is such a unique event. It gives fans the opportunity to engage and interact with professionals in a way that no other exhibition or event can.”
The Golf Live team is currently firming up its player roster for 2012. There are big names promised and some of the very exciting younger players who are breaking through at the highest level are also expected to attend.
Looking ahead, the book of exhibitors is growing thicker week-on-week, with equipment/apparel specialists and experts in travel already represented very well, with plenty of time left for organisers to attract more exhibitors.
Manufacturers include Bushnell, Callaway, Odyssey,Cleveland, COBRA-PUMA, Srixon, Mizuno,Wilson, Yonex, RIFE, Dave Hicks, Powerbug, Garmin, Golf Pride, Druh Belts, UKKO, Glenbrae, ECCO and Titleist.
Travel specialists include Golfbreaks.com (Official Destinations Partner), Highland Golf Links, Celtic Manor Resort, Bermuda Tourist Board, Costa Navarino Resort, Cyprus Tourism,De Vere,Dominican RepublicTourist Board, Marriott Hotels, Sandals, St Andrews Golf, Rockliffe Hall Resort, St Mellion International Resort, Turnberry Resort and many more.
Golf Live event director James Goode explained that he was very happy with last year’s event, which saw a 16% increase in visitors from the first year, but the team now wanted to improve the offering further. With research done during and after the event, coupled with anecdotal feedback from exhibitors, suppliers and visitors, James is confident that changes made for this year will take things to another level. The entire team at Golf Live and London Golf Club want 15,000 people to be coming through the gate and to build further on satisfaction levels across the board.
James Goode said: “We were delighted with the response to Golf Live 2011 and it really was an enjoyable show for everyone. With the top players interacting with the fans and a wealth of other attractions including all the very latest golf equipment from the leading brands to travel experts, Golf Live does offer a great day out for the whole family.
“However, while this may have been the second year of Golf Live it was the first at London Golf Club, now our established venue. Though we got many things absolutely right I’m keen that we can make some practical improvements, and that would include better signposting, a better floor plan for all visitors, more space between attractions and a better entrance-way and welcome to all visitors.”
He added: “It is in our nature to be our own toughest critics. The visitor responses to our research couldn’t have been better but we are too experienced in this kind of event to rest on our laurels. In short, our objective is to improve the Golf Live product every year, because if we do a good job the visitors will be the ones to benefit year in, year out.”
James revealed that there are also more activities planned for juniors, and a better area for England Golf and their partners to welcome brand new visitors to try golf for the first time, including the opportunity for young people to have their first ever golf lesson with a PGA professional.
Visitors will find an improved layout of marquees and exhibition space with more of a ‘tented village’ or festival feel. The areas where the players will perform have also been examined and, where necessary, formats have been changed slightly even though visitors had recorded high levels of satisfaction in these areas (the interactive masterclass theatres, Three Hole Pro Celebrity Challenge, etc).
Other improvements, James explained, may not be noticed by the consumers but are designed to help exhibitors, including ensuring best-possible use of available space, assisting with data collection and giving exhibitors more retail and merchandising support.
“We do want this event to be more trade orientated for the exhibitors,” James added. “Let’s get everyone experiencing some really good business during, and as a result of, Golf Live.
“There is still plenty to do, but we are delighted with the response of the golf trade thus far. We are talking to a number of other big golf brands and will bring you news of some more key new signings inJanuary.”
• If you are interested in taking exhibition space, finding out more regarding sponsorship opportunities, or want to discuss innovative ways to engage with 15,000 avid golfers, then please call 0207 471 1080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* This article is appearing in the next issue of Golf Business Development (GBD) magazine (www.golfbusinessdevelopment.com), out soon!