Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/234582
Outsiders' Orlando Veteran visitors name their favorite things about O-Town. Celebrating a 20-year partnership with the event's corporate sponsor, The Toro Co., the 2014 GCSAA Golf Championships will take place Feb. 1-3 at six premier golf facilities in Orlando. A new SaturdayMonday format will present four different events over three days that offer something for everyone, from those craving three full days of competition to those looking for just a single-day fun event. The headquarters hotel for this year's tournament is Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. For more information on the GCSAA Golf Championships, visit www2.gcsaa.org/conference/tournament. Orlando highlights For some long-time GCSAA staff members, the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando feel a bit like home away from home. Since this central Florida city frst played host to the association's conference and show in 1990, GCSAA has returned six times (1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011), and the 2014 Golf Industry Show will roll into town with a handful of staff members who have made the trip nearly every time. They have plenty of recommendations for newcomers. Take, for example, Scott Woodhead, who was a superintendent and served as GCSAA's president in 2000 before becoming the association's associate director for member relations. Although he's attended every Orlando conference and show, his clearest memories revolve around the earlier trips, taken when his children were youngsters. Orlando's most obvious claims to fame — theme parks — were a huge attraction. "The frst time, GCSAA's headquarters hotel was actually on the Disney property with the monorail running through it (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/bay-lake-towerat-contemporary/). That was a big hit with the kids," Woodhead recalls. Woodhead says his wife is a "huge fan" of Sea World (http://seaworldparks.com) and still builds a trip there into her itinerary. Penny Mitchell, GCSAA's senior manager for certifcation, also has attended each of the Orlando conferences and echoes the Woodhead family's enthusiasm for Sea World. But many who attend the Golf Industry Show travel without their families and are looking for things to do beyond the hustle and bustle of a theme park. For Lisa Wick, GCSAA's senior manager of e-learning programs and a six-time Orlando conference and show attendee, life's a beach. Although there are several popular beaches within easy driving distance of landlocked Orlando, Wick's seaside destination of choice is Cocoa Beach, a 45-minute drive away on the Atlantic coast (www.cityofcocoabeach.com). Wick uses her "Christmas gift cash" to book a rental car and a budget-friendly room for a one-day getaway before her convention center duties begin. "It's all very affordable," Wick says, adding that she likes to drive along the beach and explore the interesting shops and eateries. No trip to Cocoa Beach is complete, she points out, without a stroll along the pier and a stop at the Ron Jon Surf Shop. Of course, any GCSAA staffer will admit that their work duties at conference and show typically don't permit much activity beyond "meet 'n' eat," as Jana Brown, associate director for conference events and meeting planning, puts it. That's why so many of the GCSAA staff recommendations for Orlando involve food and places to network. The hotel properties that are located next to the convention center, such as the Hyatt Regency Orlando (formerly Peabody Orlando, http://orlando.regency.hyatt.com), offer lots of convenient spots for networking, says Julia Ozark, senior trade show manager for GCSAA. Judy Schelar, who as manager of conference events and meeting planning has made at least a dozen trips to Orlando since she came to work for GCSAA in 2001, agrees with Ozark that the B-Line Diner (www.zagat.com/r/b-line-diner-orlando) in the Hyatt Regency is at the top of the staff's list of hits. "They just have incredible food and great service — any time of day," Schelar says. Several GCSAA staff members recommend Pointe Orlando (www.pointeorlando.com) and the growing collection of establishments in the Sand Lake area of Orlando for nightlife. And if you fnd yourself at the convention center in Orlando, at a loss for places to go while you're not in class or on the trade show foor, just fnd someone with a staff badge. Chances are good they'll have lots of ideas. — Bunny Smith GCM managing editor 80 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14