A kid's-eye view of a turf show

A kid's-eye view of a turf show

13-year-old Anna Stiehler describes her experience attending the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show.

December 4, 2017

Since I was two years old, I’ve been fortunate to travel to the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with my parents. In years past, my trip consisted of going to the beach and shopping. This year, I got to see something new. 

I visited the Carolinas GCSA Trade Show with my father, Brian, who is the golf course superintendent at Highlands Country Club in Highlands, N.C. Pat Jones, with Golf Course Industry magazine, talked to me about marketing and challenged me to learn more about why companies participate in these types of events. I talked to several companies, including Smith Turf & Irrigation and Corbin Turf. Both told me the main reason for coming to the trade show is to build and maintain relationships with customers. They also told me that trade shows aren’t as popular as they once were because their salespeople can effectively visit customers at their golf course. Most technology at regional trade shows is about a year old. The salesmen travel with newer technology and introduce it at national shows, particularly the Golf Industry Show. 

Everyone working for Smith Turf & Irrigation at the trade show wears a sports coat and a tie. They want to be recognized as a leader and the most professional company in the industry. According to Don Corbin, companies spend anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 to market their products and companies at regional shows. According to Steve Smith of Smith Turf & Irrigation, equipment manufacturers like Toro, John Deere and Jacobsen spend over $1 million to market their products at the national Golf Industry Show. 

In conclusion, I learned that one of the most important reasons for coming to these trade shows is to keep good relationships with your customers. Most companies aren’t necessarily trying to sell products at the trade show. I enjoyed visiting the trade show and I hope to come again next year.

Anna Stiehler is a seventh grader at Highlands School in Highlands, N.C.