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Carolinas GCSA Conference & Trade Show posts a record year in 2023

By |  November 27, 2023 0 Comments
Outgoing Carolinas GCSA president Chuck Connolly (left) poses for a picture with his predecessor, Pete Gerdon, the 50th president of the association. (Photo: Courtesy of the Carolinas GCSA)

Outgoing Carolinas GCSA president Chuck Connolly (left) poses for a picture with his successor, Pete Gerdon, the 50th president of the association. (Photo: Courtesy of the Carolinas GCSA)

The annual Carolinas GCSA Conference & Trade Show capped off what association President Chuck Connolly called a banner year for golf in the region.

“We have the largest membership that we’ve ever had with more than 1800 members,” he says. “It’s just been a banner year and I think that’s a reflection of what golf is nowadays. We’re starting to see more participation and more job opportunities.”

The event grossed more than $830,000, an increase of more than 15 percent on the previous record set in 2022 according to the association. Attendance reached its highest mark in a decade with 1,995 making the trip to Myrtle Beach.

Connolly credits new educational sessions on topics such as thatch management, cool-season putting green decline and autonomous mowers as a major draw.

“From the seats sold, we are seeing record amounts,” he says. “On top of that, we saw increased participation in the golf championships and our sporting club. But it’s more than just the show, we’ve got Rounds 4 Research which was born and bred here in the Carolinas, to see that reach over $100,000 was phenomenal.”

The association sold 1,511 seats for educational seminars, beating the previous high of 1,366 in 2019.

New faces and recognition

In addition to educational seminars, the association elected its 50th president, Pete Gerdon, director of agronomy, at Grandfather G&CC in Linville, N.C., and three new members to its board of directors; Eric Dusa, CGCS from Marlboro County Golf and Recreational Complex in Bennettsville, S.C.; Matt Jones, CGCS from Forsyth CC in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Todd Lawrence, CGCS from The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C.

The association also honored Fred Yelverton, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University, with the Distinguished Service Award for his years of work with superintendents in the Carolinas. Yelverton is set to retire in 2024 after nearly 40 years at N.C. State.

The future on display

While superintendents, assistants and equipment technicians sat in on educational sessions, the Carolinas’ next wave of golf course professionals competed in the annual Turf Bowl.

“I’ve been coming to this show for almost 18 years, and I’m 52 now. I was sitting at an event last night and I kept saying how young the group has become. There are a lot of people that I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. It’s really exciting and encouraging.”

In the competition, Clemson and Horry Georgetown Tech split the crown. Students from several colleges including North Carolina State, Central Piedmont Community College and Abraham Baldwin, an agriculture school in Tifton, Ga.

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