As the curtain came down on the fourth and final NEC Golf Show, exhibitors were singing its praises and looking forward to its successor: the National Golf Show.
More than 11,000 golfers braved the treacherous weather conditions meaning official retail partner InternetGolfStore.co.uk enjoyed a successful, if hectic, three days with demand from visitors so high that the retailer had to ship in more stock from its Surrey headquarters after the first day.
The company’s managing director, Barry Young, said: “The show has been unbelievable. We’ve exceeded our expectations. The number of people coming through the door has been fantastic and they’ve responded really well to our special show offers.”
The former chief executive of the European Tour, Ken Schofield CBE, was first through the door after opening the show and he was equally enthusiastic. He said: “The aisles have been busy all day long and there are a lot of happy, smiling faces from exhibitors and visitors alike.
“The show is fantastic. There are some amazing new innovations and gadgets on offer as well as numerous chances to go home with a big prize as well as some bargains. It’s a great day out for a golfer.”
Yonex, played by Colin Montgomerie, was among the big brands showcasing new product on the massive indoor driving range, and UK sales and marketing manager Dominic Bone felt the brand had gained huge benefit from attending the event.
He said: “The number of people and the reaction to the product has been good. “We had the new range of VMS irons and hybrids for men and matching driver and fairway woods for ladies as well.
“It’s been an ideal platform for us to launch from and to get this many consumers trying it straight away before it’s launched into next season is really useful. The visitors all seem very knowledgeable; they know what they want to try and they are quite open to different suggestions and getting custom fitted so it’s definitely a good audience.
“It’s a good venue, with a good catchment area and I think having the new National Golf Show just after the Masters will be a great time of year. Everybody will be buzzing about golf.”
It was not only the established brands that enjoyed brisk business over the three-day extravaganza. Plaser is a training aid which launched at the event, and John Farmer, director and creator of Plaser, eulogised about his first ‘show experience’.
He said: “We launched at the show and it’s been phenomenal. The response to the product and the feedback we’ve had has been fantastic. We couldn’t have seen any more people – so many visited the stand.
“There’s been a mix of knowledgeable golfers and beginners and that’s great because our product fits across the whole spectrum. The feedback from both is important. We’ll definitely be doing more shows in the future.”
These sentiments were echoed by Stuart Willis, the managing director of T2hole – who also showcased his new training system – he said: “It’s been an outstanding success. It’s my first show so it’s set the bar very high for the future.
“It’s been great fun and so have the public. I would recommend anybody launching a new product to get down here for the next show in April and support it. It’s just a fantastic experience. I’m very much looking forward to the National Golf Show in April. We’ll be more established then with a few more products to offer. I can’t wait.”
The feedback from exhibitors has been music to the ears of organiser the Golf Show Group and vindicated its decision to rebrand its flagship event as the National Golf Show and move it to the NEC.
Following a groundswell of support for the centrally located venue the company announced the inaugural National Golf Show will take place from 15-17 April.
The Golf Show Group’s sales director, Damian Benstead, said: “This year’s NEC Golf Show has been a massive success with positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike, and everything points towards the National Golf Show being bigger, better and more popular than anything we’ve done before.”
National Golf Show www.nationalgolfshow.com