Michigan Golf Show 2009 Edition

golf_show_vistaThis past Friday, I spent my afternoon and evening at the Michigan Golf Show at the Rock Financial Showcase in Novi, Michigan. The show bills itself as the world’s largest, and has 214,000 square feet of exhibit space. I’m sure the PGA Shows are larger, but perhaps the Michigan golf show has itself in a separate category.

The Michigan Golf show featured some 400 exhibitors, ranging from retailers, to courses offering deals, to regional travel associations. A few golf related internet startups had exhibits. And there also were a smattering of unrelated booths: jerky and sausage shops, perfume, chiropractors, Skoal snuff, and home improvement.

boxes_of_clubs

The retailers were anchored by Rock Bottom Golf—the deep discount internet retailer—and Michigan’s Maple Hill Golf. There were several dozen others whose names I can’t remember. Most had older stock, used clubs, and last year’s apparel. I got a wedge at Maple Hill, and a Mizuno stand bag for $49 at one of the others.
In addition to promoting play, a lot of the courses also brought along portions of their pro shops. The Boyne Resorts and St. Ives both had large exhibits. Most of the others had just a smattering of shirts, clubs and accessories.

A new local golf radio show, Golf Washtenaw, had a booth. The show will kick off Masters’s weekend on WTKA 1050 AM. Weekend Warrior Golfer is another Michigan internet startup that showed its face.

driving range

With the golf travel exhibits, there was an air of desperation. You couldn’t walk past a booth without someone jumping out and offering you a flyer, a brochure, or a large glossy booklet. Deep discounts were available at a large number of nice looking resorts. One Kentucky golf resort was offering a three day stay, with unlimited golf and food included for $300.

I managed to pick up quite a few coupons for Michigan golf courses offering 2 for 1 discounts. I also won a free golf lesson at Fox Hills.

I was impressed with the efforts made by Michigan golf courses to engage in group marketing. The Traverse City area had a marketing initiative that billed them as the “Golf Coast.” The Gaylord Area bills itself (justifiably, given the number of top quality, cheap courses) as America’s Summer Golf Mecca. Other areas have banded together to create Michigan Golf Trails, like the more famous ones in southern states.

Crystal Mountain had free lessons for junior golfers; Boyne had a large driving range facility. There also was a long drive competition and a couple of putt-for-dough booths.

putting_green_2

Missing from this year’s show were golf simulators—there have been a couple in years past—and golf inventor/entrepreneurs. In previous shows,a fair number of booths were occupied by people showing off their golf inventions—glove holders, training gadgets books and the like. This year, it was down to just one or two. One I did notice was the Castle Ball Keeper, a startup from Jackson, Michigan.

featherie

The most impressive part of the show was a gorgeous landscaped putting green built by Greenskeeper Golf and Sinacori Landscaping. The greens are remarkly realistic in their play, and I discovered that you can even chip and hit wedges off the surface. Bill Green, the owner, is a scratch golfer and really loves his work. It is of course my dream to have such a green in my backyard. I’d need to get another job, though.

Finally, I wanted to mention that thanks to Greenskeeper and Sinacori, I had the chance to play around with an actual featherie. Ok. So it was homemade, and the stuffing was synthetic, but it sure felt like I imagined one would feel.

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2 thoughts on “Michigan Golf Show 2009 Edition”

  1. John,
    I just wanted to say hello and thank you for a terrific conversation. I had one heck of a weekend. Everyone thought that our putting green was fantastic. We made ton of new friends and sold several putting greens. I also want to thank the promotors of the golf show for asking us to provide the turf for all the golf pros to do thier seminars. We had Adam Scribner on hand for a couple of sessions. For those of you that are not familiar with Adam, he is best known as the swing coach for Anthony Kim. Adam was kind enough to give us his best wishes in our putting green endevors. He agreed with us that our turf is second to none. The producers of the show have asked us to come back again next year and provide an even bigger display and we are delighted to say that it will be our pleasure. The producers wanted me to also pass along that this years attendence was a record. Each day was a record and thus the three day attendence was also a record. It is amazing that in our tough economic climate that the golf world still is vibrant and will be a main stay for ever.

    Reply
  2. John,

    I also wanted to remind you that Greenskeeper Golf will be at the home and garden show in Lansing Michigan next weekend. March 19-21. Anyone that is interested in seeing the feathery that you saw can come and try to hit it closest to the pin from 25 yards. Greenskeeper Golf will be teaming up with Luke landscape from Lansing for this show. The theme of the display is the history of golf. We will have a replica of the famed bridge from the road hole at St. Andrews. We will also have a sod faced bunker and of course Greenkeeper Golf will be providing the putting green. I hope to see all of you golf enthusiest at the show.

    Reply

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