The nation’s largest regional event for golf course superintendents just grew a little larger. This year’s Carolinas GCSA Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, SC set new highs in all major categories but one.
More people attended seminars, saw more exhibit booths and competed in the annual golf championship than ever before. Not surprisingly that pushed gross revenues to a new high as well. The sole exception to the upward trend was in the number of individual companies present, down six from the previous record of 221 set before the recession took hold in 2008.
“We know we have a great product that presents great value at a great time of year for superintendents in the Southeast and it seems like the word continues to spread,” Carolinas GCSA executive director Tim Kreger says. “But still I shake my head at how we continue to grow. It’s a good indicator that the golf industry, in the Carolinas at least, is back on solid footing.”
Underlining Kreger’s point is that the Carolinas show came just three months before the 2020 Golf Industry Show in Orlando, FL. Historically, there has been a drag on Carolinas numbers when GIS rotates to Orlando every three years. But not so this year.
The annual golf championship presented in partnership with Smith Turf and Irrigation kicked off the week with 369 golfers competing across three courses, up on the previous high of 344 in 2015. The total of 1,379 seminar seats bettered the 2014 benchmark of 1,357. And overall attendance of 2020 was two more than 2008 high.
Terry English from Kiawah Island Resort’s Oak Point course won the golf championship with a one-under-par round of 71 at True Blue Plantation.
In other highlights from the three-day event:
- Brothers Wayne Smith, Jr. and Steve Smith from Smith Turf and Irrigation received the association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
- Justin Webb from Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head, SC won the $3,000 grand prize in the 27-Hole Challenge presented by John Deere Golf, Greenville Turf, and Tractor and Revels Turf and Tractor.
- More than 500 people attended Carolinas Night at the Beach at Topgolf presented in partnership with Tri-State Pump and Control, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
- Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG from Highlands Country Club in Highlands, NC was elected president.
- Members also elected four new directors – Daryl Ewing from Carolina Lakes Golf Club in Indian Land, SC; Don Garrett, CGCS from the Walker Course at Clemson University in Clemson, SC; James Huntoon from Heritage Club in Pawleys Island, SC; and Ryan McClannon from Reynolds Park Golf Club in Winston-Salem, NC.
- Scott Heath from Kinderton Country Club in Virginia won the sporting clay championship, presented in partnership with Bayer and Carolinas Fresh Farms.
Next year’s Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show is in Myrtle Beach from November 15 to 17.