Seth’s top 5 GIS moments

By |  February 11, 2014
Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 11.44.01 AM Photo: Golfdom Staff

Seth and some old friends at the Deere party. Got any Scooby snacks? Photo: Golfdom Staff

Best show ever for your pal Seth.

I know I keep saying that every year, but it really is getting better every year. Our meetings are going better, more readers are stopping me to tell me they’re enjoying what we’re doing, even my hangovers weren’t as bad this year. (I credit sticking to beer this year, plus 5-Hour Energy drinks in the morning.)

The 2014 GIS in Orlando was crazy, but a good crazy. Without further ado, my top 5 moments of the 2014 Golf Industry Show:

# 5 — Live Tweeting the Toro, Deer and Jacobsen booth tours I had help at the GIS this year in associate editor Molly Gase and digital media specialist Joelle Harms. Both new additions to the team, both fresh from journalism school. So I took one of them to all three of these booth tours, and had them do the print reporting (i.e., taking notes and photos) while I stayed glued to my iPhone, rapid-fire live Tweeting whatever seemed newsworthy or noteworthy. You can check out our coverage here. Based on the reaction from the Twitterverse, this was well received, and the guys in red, green and orange appreciated me sharing what I was seeing with our 2,000+ followers instantaneously.

Part of it is pride. We were the first to share this information with our readers, which is always a feather in the cap of a journalist. We also Tweeted more than any of our competitors, which makes me exceptionally proud of my team I took to the GIS this year.

Now we just have to top that effort again next year… no easy task.

# 4 — Beers, Brats and Banter with BASF Our friends at BASF asked me if I’d sit in on a panel discussion with two supers and one colleague from the industry. The beer (Yuengling, yessir) was cold and the conversation was lively. We had maybe 75 people watching and even more popping in and out to listen to the discussion. Of course we solved the (golf) world’s problems up on the stage while also having a little fun at the same time. There was an unidentified gentleman there who videotaped the whole thing… if it ever pops up on YouTube I’ll share it with you.

# 3 — John Deere party at Universal Studios Once again, John Deere brought their A-game when it came to party planning. It was a bit of a nightmare getting on the bus to transport several hundred superintendents to Universal Studios, but once we got there that was a distant memory. If the lines to get on the bus were rough, the lines at Universal — for rides, food or beer — were nonexistent. This was a cool spot to have a VIP party. I managed to avoid the roller coaster by catching up with a bunch of old friends, but for those into the thrill rides, they were readily available.

(The beer line and the arcade were more my style. Somewhere out there there is a superintendent from Colorado still wondering how he got bested in back-to-back games of motorcycle racing and air hockey. To which I’ll warn you all: as lousy as I am on the first tee, I’m the opposite in the arcade.)

JIM Photo: Golfdom Staff

Photo: Golfdom Staff

# 2 — Awarding the Herb Graffis award with Rees Jones We had a great crowd assemble around the Golfdom booth on Thursday for our Graffis award announcement. We even had four guests fly in from Pennsylvania just to see the presentation (and play some golf, natch.) Rees Jones showed up right on time like he told me he would, and we unveiled this month’s cover in style. Definitely a memory I’ll take with me to the grave. Just a cool moment and a professional highlight. We’ll do it again next year, but even better… and of course you’re invited! We won’t have roller coasters, but hey…

A huge thank you to my friend Rees Jones for taking the time to present the Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year award to our 2014 winner, Schuylkill CC’s Jim Rattigan. All three of us spoke (Rees, Jim and myself) and I was way upstaged by both of these gentlemen. Which is actually exactly the way I hoped it would go.

We’ll do a more in-depth story on the presentation — and some of the nice things Rees and Jim had to say — later this week.

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 11.44.48 AM Photo: Golfdom Staff

We even somehow managed to sneak the Yuengling logo into this photo up top! They need to sponsor my next keg… Photo: Golfdom Staff

# 1 — Being stopped by so many readers Scene: Miller’s Ale House, Wednesday night. Cut to me, trying to find the Rocky Mountain GCSA chapter party. Suddenly, our hero (or villain, depending on your viewpoint) is whisked into the Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents party.

From there I stumbled into the Carolinas party, followed by at last the Rocky Mountain party… all at the same bar, occurring simultaneously. From an uninvited party crasher to getting firm handshakes, slaps on the backs, free beers… it’s a great feeling to see familiar faces and maybe even more exciting to have a complete stranger introduce himself and tell you how much he enjoys your magazine and the work you and your team are doing.

I imagine it’s a similar thrill as having a stranger tell you how much he loves the conditions of your golf course. Imagine that moment, happening 20 times in an evening. I was smiling like a fool.

The Florida GCSA party and the Nor’easter GCSA party were also great. Heck, I had someone yell “Great magazine!” at me from across the street. How cool is that?

This may seem like a self-serving # 1 (and # 2, # 3, # 4, # 5…) but I want to thank everyone who said hi, who bought me or my team a beer, who shouted from across the street. We clearly love making this magazine every month, and the fact that you’re enjoying it brings it full circle and energizes us to do even more.

We can’t wait for next year in San Antonio. Hope to see you at the Deere party. Or your chapter party. Or even just holler at you from across the River Walk.


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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

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