Golf Course Management

APR 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 17 of 165

16 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.14 By the time most of you read these words, the frst week of February will seem very, very far away, just a distant blip in your rearview mirror. For most, the golf season is already in full swing, and with the winter that many of our colleagues suffered through, that golf sea - son promises to be challenging. Still, I am one that always argues there is no time limit on celebrating successes, so I be - lieve it's still appropriate to refect back on this year's Golf Industry Show and all that took place in Orlando, Feb. 1-6. Those who regularly attend our associa - tion's fagship event — and, really, those who are unable to do so — know that the Golf In - dustry Show is an unquestioned success every year it is held. There is industry-leading edu - cation, the world's most comprehensive golf course management trade show and network - ing opportunities that are unrivaled in our business. I have long advocated that, along - side GCSAA membership, there is no better investment a superintendent can make in his or her career than a trip to the Golf Indus - try Show, and I continue to stand by those sentiments. But in recent years, our conference and trade show has felt many of the same eco - nomic pressures that you have faced in the management of your own golf courses. There's no arguing that the forces that have impacted the entire golf industry have also touched our event, and although it was always a suc - cess for those who attended, the metrics that tracked other measures of success hadn't al - ways kept pace. That trend took a turn for the better in Orlando. You could feel it in the buzz that surrounded the event and from the almost universally positive comments I heard from attendees and exhibitors alike. The buzz went far past the anecdotal, though. Total attendance for the event was 14,147, which marked an increase of 8 percent over the 2013 event in San Diego. On the trade show foor, 561 exhibitors (an increase of 9 percent vs. 2013) covered 184,500 square feet of the Orange County Convention Center (up 7 percent vs. 2013). And taking in all that the trade show had to offer were 6,845 qualifed buyers, which was an increase of 14 percent over San Diego in that important category. For me, though, the most encouraging sign to come from our time in Orlando was the overwhelming popularity of GCSAA educa - tion. A total of 5,192 education seats were sold for the week, which marked an increase of 15 percent over last year's GIS and offers, at least in my eyes, proof positive that the thirst for knowledge among golf course superintendents continues unabated regardless of economic conditions or the overall health of the game. Numbers aside, the real memories for me from our time in Orlando will come from the many personal interactions that I had with GCSAA members and the wonderful expe - riences we all shared. From Old Tom Morris Award winner Annika Sorenstam's stories of life on the golf course to waiting on pins and needles to discover the winners of the annual GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl and laughing at Bill Engvall's takes on the game we all love so much, those are the kinds of memories cre - ated at a Golf Industry Show, memories that I hope you will join us in creating during next year's event in San Antonio. You can read much more about the 2014 GIS in this issue of GCM, beginning on Page 56. Finally, I wanted to address something that many of you may have learned about through a short letter from me that recently appeared on GCSAA's website. As of March 1, I have left my position as the director of grounds maintenance at the Country Club of Little Rock (Ark.), a position I had held since 2005. Per GCSAA bylaws, I will continue to serve as your national president during this time of transition, and I want to assure you that the duties and responsibilities that come with the presidency of GCSAA will receive my full at - tention while I explore new opportunities in my career. Throughout my time as a superintendent, I have always adhered to an open-door policy, and that certainly will not change now. I ap - preciate the thoughts and comments I have re- ceived from many GCSAA members thus far, and I thank you for your continued support. Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, is GCSAA's 78th president and a 33-year member of the association. Keith A. Ihms, CGCS A show to remember in Orlando Alongside GCSAA membership, there is no better investment a superintendent can make in his or her career than a trip to the Golf Industry Show. (president's message) 016-017_April14_PresMess.indd 16 3/19/14 2:09 PM

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