GCSAA 2022: Should I stay or should I go?

By |  January 3, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Mindy_Nicole_Photography / istock–getty images plus / getty images

Gaslamp District in San Diego. (Photo: Mindy_Nicole_Photography / iStock-Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Hey, we get it. It’s 2022, and it’s easy to say no to things. Junior has a cough; better stay home. They might make me wear a mask when I get there; not getting on the plane.

But after a year off, and as events like the Carolinas GCSA Conference & Show and the Golfdom Summit were huge hits, it’s time to consider heading out west to the first in-person GCSAA Conference and Show since February 2020.

Should you stay or should you go to San Diego? As The Clash sang, “If I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double.” We don’t know how true that is, but we hope to see you there. Here are a few things to take into consideration when making your decision.


The GCSAA Golf Championships are being played at Torrey Pines, site of Tiger’s memorable 2008 U.S. Open win over Rocco Mediate and more recently, the 2021 U.S. Open won by Jon Rahm.

That’s an easy “go!” Is the rest of this story going to be that easy?


While San Diego is known as “America’s finest city,” the state of California might be known as America’s most stringent when it comes to the pandemic. Whatever your beliefs are regarding COVID-19, this makes hosting a trade show in the state complicated.

GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans acknowledges that taking the show to California presents challenges, but says his team at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., is prepared to adapt.

Rhett Evans

Rhett Evans

“California, just when it comes to their mandates, comes to their regulations, they’ve been much more strict than other states,” Evans says. “We knew that going into it. We’d already chosen the venue years before the pandemic, but we’ve had the right mindset. When you look at some of our key activities where we bring a lot of people together in a setting that’s around networking and being together, we’ve done, I think, a really good job. We were able to secure the Marina Terrace at the Marriott Marquis. That’s an outdoor venue facing the Bay, so the closing celebration where we’re going to be recognizing our Old Tom Morris Award winner will be outdoors, so no mask required there.”

Did Evans say masks? Yes, he did. As of press time, California enacted a mandate that for indoor events of 1,000 people or more, masks are required. That mandate expires on Jan. 15, and Evans is hopeful it is not renewed, but if it is, he adds that along with the closing celebration, the welcoming reception will be on the USS Midway — an outdoor venue — where masks would not be required.

Can’t go?

And what about people who have not been vaccinated? Are they uninvited to attend the 2022 GCSAA Conference & Show?

“That’s a myth that we’ve been trying to bust that you have to be vaccinated to attend. That is simply not true,” Evans says. “You can be unvaccinated and attend; you simply need to acquire the right testing in advance. Your proof of a negative test will get you in.”

Evans adds that GCSAA will keep all COVID-19 related updates regarding rules for the show up to date here.

Last year’s show — the final one known as the Golf Industry Show — was virtual. Evans says that he thinks the industry needs a thriving in-person show to keep improving the game.

“It doesn’t matter all the technologies that exist; it has not eradicated that need of our basic biology, that people need people. That is what I’m looking forward to. I haven’t seen some members and some partners for over two years, and to be able to be together and to see how they’re doing means a lot,” Evans says. “I think it is extremely important that those of us that work in this business rally around each other to make it work and come together so that we can all be stronger.”

Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill will receive GCSAA’s Old Tom Morris Award during the Closing Celebration of the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego, Feb. 10. Photo: Al Wagner / Invision / AP

Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill will receive GCSAA’s Old Tom Morris Award during the Closing Celebration of the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego, Feb. 10. (Photo: Al Wagner / Invision / AP)


Yes, there are hoops to jump through to get to San Diego, but that just might be the way of life. Here is a list of other events we’re looking forward to at the Conference & Show:

Bob Farren

Bob Farren

⦁ Bob Farren, CGCS at Pinehurst Resort, will be honored with the inaugural Col. John Morley Award. The award is now only for Class A or Class B GCSAA superintendents. A longtime friend of Golfdom, we can’t miss “Turf’s Most Interesting Man” being honored with this award. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Tim Hiers

Tim Hiers

⦁ Tim Hiers, CGCS, White Oak Conservation, Yulee, Fla., will be honored as the newest inductee to Anuvia’s Legends Initiative. Hiers, one of the industry’s most successful spokespersons on the environmental benefits of the golf course, will be speaking about his decorated career at the Anuvia booth.

John Shaw

John Shaw

⦁ John Shaw, CGCS, Valley Brook CC, Canonsburg, Pa., will be honored with the 2021 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year Award, and Rick Mooney, vice president of maintenance and development, Shore Lodge | Whitetail Club, McCall, Idaho, will be honored with the 2020 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year Award (since we couldn’t hand it to him in 2020.)
⦁ Vince Gill is being honored with the Old Tom Morris Award, and to that we say, “don’t let our love (for San Diego) start slippin’ away!”

Whether you stay or go, follow along with us at Golfdom on social media, online at Golfdom.com and in the March issue for a full recap of the show.

And if you do go, we’ll see you at The Field Irish Pub.

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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