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Golf Industry Show 2021 to be virtual

By |  August 12, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Golfdom Staff

Photo: Golfdom Staff

The 2021 Golf Industry Show, slated to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Jan. 30-Feb. 4, 2021, is now virtual, according to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

“This was not an easy decision to make. We considered global health concerns, travel bans, restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing requirements, adjustments other shows were making and the state of the economy,” said GCSAA President John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS, in a video announcement. “We listened to members, engaged exhibitors and consulted our industry partners, and it became clear a virtual event would afford the best opportunity to provide you a safe, quality GIS experience.”

Josh Lewis, golf course superintendent of Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Menlo Park, Calif., applauds GCSAA’s decision.

“It’s not only the right decision from a business perspective, but also the right decision from a people perspective,” he says. “There are a lot of factors included in this. I’ve been a member of the executive team here at my club — there are a lot of logistics in everything, taking care of employees and members, trying to balance profits/losses — I can only imagine what GCSAA has gone through to figure out the right course of action. When you figure in the obvious risks and then how putting on a show is going to be significantly impacted — people aren’t going to want to be part of a large group.”

David Dore-Smith, director of golf course grounds and grounds maintenance at Copperleaf Golf Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., agrees, noting “If I was a vendor and going to spend God knows how much money for the floor space and the advertising (to exhibit), that’s a tough check to sign off on, knowing attendance could be severely limited.”

Dore-Smith notes companies and courses typically send their best team members to the event for educational and networking opportunities. “To send me away only to come back with some sort of issue, or to have to quarantine, is not good business,” he says. “There are far too many unknowns. It’s terribly frustrating, I wouldn’t mind going to Las Vegas, but my wife would question why. It’s not always just the superintendent’s decision, it might be your partner who says, ‘Do you really need to put yourself and me in a possible situation?’”

The theme for GIS 2021 is “Your Space. Your Pace. All in One Space.”

Fulling Jr. says this theme echoes the accessibility of the event from anywhere in the world and on any device.

“Unlike the traditional in-person show, you can either participate in events live the first week of February or watch when you want to with extended on-demand access,” Fulling Jr. says. “This won’t be a week of video calls. You can rest assured that our GCSAA staff has worked diligently to secure a virtual platform that is highly interactive, visually engaging and easy to use.

And, expect some fun surprises and special guests too, Fulling Jr. says. Dore-Smith says the virtual option is a great idea for the educational sessions.

“It’s no secret that we’ve become proficient in Zoom meetings or whatever the platforms are (since the pandemic began), and that works extremely well,” Dore-Smith says.

Lewis says he’s excited to see what GCSAA has up its sleeve as far as the virtual event platform.

“One of the things we’re seeing globally is innovation,” he says. “I’d be interested to see what it looks like. I bet there are elements that will be useful for future shows as well. There is a lot to be learned, and there are a lot of smart people in Lawrence (Kan., at GCSAA headquarters), so I’d be very interested in seeing what the experience is like.”

A demo of the format is available online at the GIS website:

Registration for GIS 2021 virtual opens on Oct. 13.

The GIS announcement comes off the heels of the announcement that the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association Limited’s (BIGGA) Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), will not take place in January 2021. BIGGA said the organization will offer an alternative event in summer 2021.

The Golf Course Builders Association of America, the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the National Golf Course Owners Association, the National Golf Foundation and the United States Golf Association are also participating partners of GIS.

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