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Keeping up with the Jones: Canceled no more

By |  March 29, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

The last time I wore a wristband for three days, I did it to see Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and The Cure. It was at Lollapalooza in Chicago, 2013.

In 2022 I wore a wristband for a week, but this time it was to prove I didn’t have COVID-19, and it was to see John Deere, Standard Golf and Quali-Pro.

Oh, what a difference in events. Both shows rocked, though.

The 2022 GCSAA Conference and Show finally arrived, and yes, we actually went to California and did it. The photos and stories in this issue prove it. I don’t have the words to tell you how great it was to be back. It was easily one of the most rewarding conferences I have ever attended. A year of everything being canceled — including an in-person 2021 Golf Industry Show — might make a guy a little sentimental when we finally get the band back together.

Everyone agreed, attendance was light. The show was smaller. San Diego typically is a down year for attendance, but add in the pandemic, California’s mask mandate, the San Diego Convention Center requiring either proof of vaccine or a negative test, the airlines canceling flights … it all made it easy for people who would normally attend to say, “not this year.”

Photo:

Attendees at the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Show in San Diego got an up-close and personal look at the best new equipment the industry has to offer (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Go back in time to a few weeks before the GCSAA Conference and Show. A sports story broke that the NFL was considering moving the Super Bowl from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., to somewhere, anywhere, in Texas. Suddenly people around the industry got real nervous. If the NFL can’t pull off an event in California, how can GCSAA? My phone started ringing, asking what I had heard around the industry and what our plan was for the show. I told anyone who asked, we were going to be there and were looking forward to seeing everyone who joined. I answered that way because I really wanted the show to happen, to go off without a hitch. Did I know it would happen? Nope. This is still my first pandemic, and I’m riding the wave, like everyone else.

The Super Bowl relocation story was squashed a few days later. We still nervously waited to see what would happen with a new variant. And finally, with no one trying to talk us out of it, I got to the airport and was reminded what this show is all about: connecting with people.

As soon as I got through security, I was shaking hands with people who were on my same flight to San Diego, people local to me who work in the industry. Upon landing in San Diego, I immediately ran into old friends in the Gaslamp Quarter. A common question I was asked: where would the annual Friends of Golfdom party be hosted? I gave them an unexpected answer: we weren’t having one this year because we didn’t know what to expect in San Diego. We hedged our bets.

It turns out the Friends of Golfdom party happened every night, and it just started wherever we were, with whatever group. When my team walked into the Field Irish Pub on Wednesday night — the same venue where we hosted the event in 2019 — we were greeted with a round of applause from the many friends who just went there out of instinct. I’ll never forget that moment.

If you missed the show, this issue is for you. I present a recap of some of what I saw and learned at the show. And we share some photos of the people we saw in our gallery. Our short visits with six different bunker companies. And for further coverage of the conference, including video booth visits with more than a dozen companies, will be posted to our website and YouTube channel.

It was great to be back together again. Yes, we had to walk before we could run, but we were walking again in San Diego. Next year in Orlando? It’s going to be a full-on sprint.

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a 18-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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