The PGA of Alberta held its consumer show in Edmonton recently and we have another coming up this weekend in Calgary.
We’ve had success with these shows, but I must admit I was a little guarded this year. It’s the same thing every year – how do you make them different and how do you bring people in?
I haven’t sat on the committee for a few years, but they do a great job. We get lots of member volunteers, a lot of support and the manufacturers are great. We’ve got nets so people can demo product and we raise money for charity.
Consumer shows offer a lot of advantages for golf professionals and people in the industry. In the case of golf professionals, it’s a great place to promote who we are and what we do.
Visibility for the golf professional is critical and this is a perfect way to promote yourself and that’s really the mandate of the PGA of Alberta, It’s the most inexpensive forum for us to communicate with the public and all of the courses that are run by our members.
Consumer shows are a good way to get out and see what’s driving the public, kids, beginners, etc., so it’s really a good avenue to see what initiatives we need to institute to grow the game properly.
I think the economy has changed the perception of golf a little bit. It’s still not the cheapest form of recreation, so I’ve seen the trend of people looking for packages and program deals recently.
I think the industry has to come to the plate a little bit and think of creative ways to package things to give people what they want.
I’m not talking discounting. We’re not in a position to discount, but I think if we’re aggressively packaging and promoting and making it easier for the general public to take a group of lessons, or buy a range pass, people will respond.
There are other advantages to consumer shows, as well. It’s a good opportunity for the industry to network just before the season gets underway. In our case in Alberta, we have an association seminar, our annual general meeting, the Edmonton show, a week break, then the Calgary show.
Consumer shows are also a great way to recruit staff for the season ahead. We have an employment area and post for seasonal staff. There have even been years when I’ve interviewed potential staff members right there.
Each show represents a couple of days in which to get a lot of positive things done.