NGCOA to leave GIS for PGA Show in 2020

The NGCOA, a long-time partner with the Golf Industry Show, is moving its annual meeting to coincide with the PGA Show and not the GIS, starting in 2020.

Despite saying it will still a partner with the GIS, it’s nonetheless another blow to the annual trade show, which at one time promised to bring the entire golf industry together and attracted 25,737 attendees in 2008. Since then attendance has declined, dropping to only 11,700 at last year’s show in San Antonio, its lowest attendance since 1986. 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association merged together to form the combined trade show in 2005, along with the National Golf Foundation, the Golf Course Builders Association, the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the United States Golf Association as participating partners. The Club Managers Association of America joined in 2006, helping to boost the number of exhibitors to an all-time high of 981 in 2007. 

But the concept never seemed to work for the CMAA, which caters to general managers at private clubs, some of whom are not at facilities with golf. The CMAA exhibitors seemed lost among the much larger turf show. The relationship between the two organizations was further strained when the Golf Industry Show announced in 2009 that it would move its 2012 show to Las Vegas, in order to save on expenses.

The CMAA felt blindsided by the move and announced that the 2010 show would be its last as a GIS partner. Attendance dropped from 16,156 in 2010 to 14,781 in 2011. The CMAA attracts 3,000 to its annual meeting.

The NGCOA will now pull its members away from the GIS. While small in numbers, they attract an estimated 500, it is still an important symbolic move. The change should benefit the NGCOA, as more owners attend the PGA Show, and that show has been growing. 

“We are pleased to bring the Golf Business Conference to Orlando, a popular destination among golf course operators and vendor partners, during PGA Show Week, one of the biggest weeks of the year for the golf industry,” said NGCOA Chief Executive Officer Jay Karen in a press release.  “NGCOA members will experience significant value in the new site and location for our event programming and we look forward to working with PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America to enhance the conference.”

Next year’s NGCOA conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center Monday through Wednesday, Jan. 20-22, 2020, intersecting with the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 21-24, 2020. NGCOA members will have time to visit the PGA Show Floor on Wednesday before the conference concludes, as well as Thursday and Friday. The NGCOA will sell sponsorships to the conference, but not exhibit space. 

“The PGA of America is excited that the new proximity of the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference — beginning with next year’s PGA Merchandise Show — will create special collaboration opportunities for PGA Members to discover, learn and share best practices with golf course owners and operators,” says PGA President Suzy Whaley. 

The Golf Business Conference, hosted by NGCOA for more than 30 years, is one of the industry’s largest meetings for golf course owners and operators, despite the fact that NGCOA membership is down from prior years. The PGA Merchandise Show draws 40,000 industry professionals and 1,000 exhibitors. 

The 2019 Golf Industry Show is Feb. 2-7thin San Diego. 

The GCSAA expects attendance to increase by three to five percent this year, based on the location alone. It has also taken more aggressive steps to bring in international attendees. It added a new chapter in Mexico, and GCSAA membership is up. 

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