Along with several other industry journalists, last week I visited Izaac Walton Golf Club, near Eccleshall, to see what was on offer at their new turf management show and, importantly, to see how well attended it would be.
The show, entirely organised by the golf club, attracted a good range of our industry manufacturers, who saw this as an opportunity to promote their wares and services to a Midlands based audience of Greenkeepers and Groundsmen.
The club's effort was praiseworthy, in that they had managed to secure over twenty five exhibitors who were prepared to support and invest in the new show.
The layout was spacious and allowed the exhibitors good access to greens, fairways and tees for demonstration areas. A lot of effort had put in by the club, and particularly the Head Greenkeeper, to set up the showground.
Exhibiting were many of the industry favourites - Campey Turf Care, The Grass Group, Keith Kensett, Lloyds, Turf Mech, Dennis, Vitax, BSH, Bathgate Sands, Barenbrug, Hunter Grinders, together with smaller operations who were displaying a range of industry machinery, products and services.
Even the weather was kind, being dry and warm. However, the most important ingredient - the punters (Groundsmen / Greenkeepers / Sports Turf Managers) were in very short supply. Official figures stated that just 60 people had registered on the day.
I spoke to a number of exhibitors who where obviously disappointed at the turn out, particularly when they continue to support these local shows at not inconsiderable cost.
It is not just the cost of the stand space; you have to take into account set up time, transport costs, accommodation and staff resources. It may have cost some of larger companies in excess of £3k to attend the show.
There were some concerns about how well the show had been marketed; there was little mention in any of the trade journals. Also, the signage to the showground was poor, with many people having difficulty finding the site.
As always the commitment from these companies has to be admired; they continue to support trade shows when and wherever possible. I am sure the punters who attended would have benefitted greatly from having the opportunity to see the machines and products on display. However, the value to the companies is likely to be somewhat different.