Buying shows to take place in August in British Columbia and Ontario will go ahead without the support of the Canadian Golf Industry Association.
The Ontario PGA show was moved from its traditional October dates to Aug. 25-26 at a new venue, the Toronto Congress Centre, while the PGA of British Columbia elected to go with two shows, one Aug. 30-31 and another Nov. 15-16 to allow for better timing for apparel and equipment companies, respectively.
B.C. also moved locations from Penticton to the Vancouver area, where the shows were to be held at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, but according to executive director Keith Keindel, the decision by the CGIA was based on the belief that the shows in B.C. and Ontario still faced a traditional challenge.
“There are all sorts of courses with tournaments on in August and all sorts of other distractions that we don’t have in October and we’re not able to get enough pros out to make the shows viable in October, so it’s hard for us to believe we’re going to be able to get enough out to make it worthwhile in August,” he said.
Both Dustin Kerr-Taylor, president of the Ontario PGA, and B.C. PGA interim executive director Donald Miyazaki say their communications with their respective memberships indicate mostly a positive response from golf professionals to the new set-ups in each province.
“We strongly believe that our professionals will support the show and will attend,” said Kerr-Taylor, point out that 300 e-mails were sent out to members and most of the replies were positive.
Kerr-Taylor met with the CGIA in late June to discuss the reasons why the association moved the dates of the show,
“Too many pros were going to that buying show in late October almost done (their ordering),” said Kerr-Taylor. “That was the feedback from the vendors — that the orders weren’t being done at the show.
“Like I’ve always said, it’s a trial year. We’re trying something new,” he added.
Keindel says the CGIA did put forward a proposal in Ontario, but he didn’t want to elaborate on details.
“We made a proposal to them, which they refused. It basically was designed to make sure that our members were comfortable with the fact that there would be enough participation by pros at the show to make it economically viable,” said Keindel.
Meanwhile, the B.C. PGA met with Dan Dodman of Cleveland/Srixon Canada, who was representing the CGIA, in late June at the Richmond Country Club.
“It was very positive. It was great for Dan to have taken the steps to invite us to have a meeting,” said Miyazaki, adding that the move to the Vancouver area and the short distance from the airport to the show was designed to increase participation by the association’s members and to cut costs for vendors.
“We were making these decisions based on suggestions, recommendations and things that our members and (CGIA) members wanted. It was a positive meeting and I think a lot of miscommunication was certainly cleared up,” said Miyazaki.
“We understand that the vendors coming to our shows incur some costs and moving it to the Vancouver area was certainly a priority of ours to meet that request, as well as to increase member participation as they had also requested and suggested,” he added.
“Bringing it to Vancouver was the first thing that came to mind. Tournaments and education and our other events that we run, our biggest participation seems to be in the Vancouver regions,” said Miyazaki, who echoed Kerr-Taylor’s belief that pre-show previewing of products may be hurting attendance.
“We’ve contacted members who haven’t attended the show. One of the reasons they have not is because they have done a whole bunch of previewing before,” said Miyazaki, adding buying shows are important financially to the association and could affect dues and service if they weren’t around.
As a result, the association has suggested to members to not take part in previewing before the show. Miyazaki says it’s a move to encourage participation as opposed to a backlash against vendors who don’t exhibit at the show.
“We have certainly, by no means, demanded that they cannot preview. We would never do that or tell anybody how to run their business,” he said.
“It’s difficult because there’s such a great relationship between our members and the sales reps that they would never make it anything personal,” said Miyazaki, adding the show must go on, with or without the CGIA.
“We have very positive registration. More than half of our booths are sold, which is about on pace of what we usually do comparatively to previous years at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre,” said Miyazaki.
Kerr-Taylor still believes Ontario will have a good show, as well.
“We still believe that it will still be a strong show and we’ll get the support of our members. We’re still hoping to get a strong support from our vendors, as well,” he said.
“Our whole intention after the show is to sit down with them and really work side-by-side and try to create a 2012 that they’ll be in support of,” added Kerr-Taylor.
Keindel says there is one key factor to making that work.
“It would be great if we could reach a resolution, but at this juncture, there needs to be some assurance that there’s going to be enough professionals there to make it work,” he said.
“I think the manufacturers have done pretty good in terms of showing up for a number of years when they haven’t been getting a reasonable return on the investment they’ve been making,” he added.
“I don’t think they can be expected to continue to keep taking risks without some sore of assurance that they’re going to get a return on that investment,” said Keindel.