The 2005 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Education Conference and inaugural Golf Industry Show wrapped up a week-long schedule of events in Orlando, Feb. 7-12, at the Orange County Convention Center with a strong showing and record-breaking numbers.
The Golf Industry Show, which combines the trade shows of the GCSAA and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), is a progressive event that features networking opportunities and hands-on access to resources for professional members of the golf industry. The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) will become associated with the event in 2007. Also participating as supporting organizations are the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and the National Golf Foundation (NGF).
While the trade shows of the organizations were combined to form a new industry event, each retained autonomous education conferences that ran concurrently with the Golf Industry Show. The objective is to present an industry trade show that represents significant aspects of a golf operation – from ownership, feasibility and design, construction and operations.
Overall attendance for the GCSAA Education Conference, NGCOA Solutions Summit and Golf Industry Show is projected to be near 23,000. Final attendance numbers will be known in approximately a week. Prior to opening registration last fall, officials projected final attendance to be approximately 21,000. Perhaps even more important than the overall figures is the number of “qualified buyers” or those that can influence purchase decisions. Last year in San Diego at the GCSAA Conference and Show there were approximately 6,200 hundred qualified buyers. That number will be eclipsed at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando. It is estimated the number of qualified buyers will reach 8,000.
Exhibitors showed their approval to the creation of the Golf Industry Show as 830 were on hand to showcase their newest products and services, breaking the record of 759 set at the 2001 GCSAA Conference and Show in Dallas. In terms of square footage, exhibit sales covered 270,360, surpassing the projected final total of 255,000 square feet. Last year at the GCSAA Conference and Show, there were 684 exhibitors covering 240,000 square feet. The all-time best for square footage at a GCSAA Conference and Show was 278,000 in Dallas in 2001. This year’s exhibit space total marks the third highest.
The GCSAA Education Conference, which ran concurrently with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 7-12 at the Orange County Convention Center), also drew strong interest. At weeks end, 7,329 seminar seats were processed, marking the second highest total since 7,903 seats were sold in New Orleans in 2000. Last year in San Diego, seminar attendance was 6,772.
In addition, Timothy T. O‘Neill, certified golf course superintendent at Country Club of Darien (Conn.), was elected GCSAA president at the association’s annual meeting.