By Laurence Gale MSc
Atlanta City, Georgia was the host city for this year's GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry . The show was originally going to be held in New Orleans, however, hurricane Katrina put paid to that when it swept through the area causing devastating damage to buildings and road infrastructures. The GCSAA should be congratulated on their organisational effectiveness in rescuing the event and choosing such a welcoming venue at such short notice.
The Georgia World Congress Centre provided excellent facilities for both exhibitors and visitors. The show promoted over 800 exhibitors that, in turn, attracted well over 17,000 visitors during the three days, with over 7,000 of these attending educational programmes and seminars.
It was my first ever visit courtesy of Ransomes Jacobsen who invited me along with 200 other customers and personnel from the company. The scale of the show was staggering, all the exhibitors were located in one huge exhibition hall.
There was a very relaxed atmosphere, probably due to the vast amount of space around each stand.
Around the outside of the hall were plenty of eating and drinking facilities catering for the multi -international audience the show attracts. Many of the exhibitors were reporting record sales and demand for their products and services, with a number of companies selling all their demonstration equipment being exhibited on their stand.
The people who attend appear to have buying power, and are able to place an order at the show. Many UK companies, such as SISIS, Richard Campey, Blec , Ransomes/Jacobsen and Bernhards & Co were reporting healthy sales.
Education is also a high on the GCSAA agenda, many of the leading Universities in attendance were offering a range of education and placement programmes. Over 7000 people attended the wide range of seminars provided.
The whole experience of visiting the States and seeing, at first hand, the scale of this show was amazing. It was a trip none of the touring party, Greenkeepers, Course Managers and Dealers will forget, and I am sure they have returned home with some new ideas and visions of raising the standards back here in the UK.
The Ransomes/Jacobsen Tour
A big thank you must go to David Withers MD and all of the Ransomes/Jacobsen staff who worked tirelessly to make this a very successful tour, particularly Dawn Taylor who had planned everything down to the last detail. Everyone in the party were well looked after.
The combination of conference, focus sessions, golf and factory visits kept us very busy over the four days. For me, and many of the other first time visitors, it was a fantastic experience, something we will remember and cherish for a long long time.
The tour also gave me a wonderful opportunity to make many new contacts and forge friendships with other industry personnel, I spent some quality time talking to fellow journalists such as Trevor Ledger, Geoffrey Russell, and Mike Lenihan, and not forgetting Peter Driver and Richard Evers from Command Publicity.
The tour cemented a number of friendships between customers, dealers and Ransome/Jacobsen staff. All in all the Atlanta 2006 Golf Industry Show was an outstanding success.
Below are a few photographs taken during my time at the show:-
|Atlanta Skyline||Intercontinental Hotel|
|Gary Mumby and Wife||SISIS Team|
|H D Training||John Knight and friends|
|The Boys from Belfast||John Pemberton BIGGA|
|Quality control||Factory Cylinders Components|