Importance of attending trade shows – Turf management

There are many trade shows for our industry all around the world, from the UK, USA, Australia, Asia, Europe to Africa. You won’t be too far from one. Some of the more globally known are GCSAA, BTME, SALTEX and SFMA CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION. I’ve attended many trade shows all around the world and have had great value from each and every one of them. Here’s the big 3 reasons to attend and my recent experience attending GIS 2022.
Networking – Whether that’s meeting suppliers or peers within the turf grass industry make sure to make the most of this opportunity. It’s not often greenkeepers and ground staff get to speak with their peers from around the country or even world! Of course we have a limited amount of social media and forms of communicating online but this will never be the same as a face to face chat, coffee or meal! Networking isn’t just about making new contacts either, cultivating long term relationships is just as important. You never know when you need advice or even borrow a machine. But networking isn’t just limited to peers, dealers and sales representatives are very useful contacts to make. At some point in your career you’ll be purchasing machinery. Knowing the ins and outs can really help make a decision or business case.
Education – This is one of if not the most important section. Education within any form is great but trade shows can be a fantastic chance to learn something you may otherwise avoid. With the collection of CPD points you can also make a case for your employer and be certificated for the seminars you attend and exams you pass. Even if CPD points aren’t your thing I can assure you with the vast variety of seminars, panel debates and information you’ll take something useful away with you. Professional learning is an ongoing process, there’s always something to learn and help you advance your career.
New innovations – Whether it is a new piece of machinery, online technology or even an upgraded part, you can find it at one of the shows. I’ve seen all sorts from drone’s with sprayers to wax coated grass seed. If during the shows you don’t get to see these machines in action or get all of your questions answered ask for a demo, there is no harm in this if you’re in the market for a new machine and want to explore your options that best suit. Stay updated in an ever evolving industry.
My attendance to GCSAA 2022
GIS (now known as GCSAA) is one of the highest recognized in the world due to its ties with universities and product trials that take place in the States. The GCSAA shows are greatly beneficial in regards to education and innovations within the industry, and to be invited to one is a great privilege. Big thanks to Dennis and Sisis!
While attending GCSAA, I had the opportunity to meet the team from Leicester City Football Club, various MLS turf managers, and superintendents from some of the best golf courses in the USA. I was able to talk about topics that I wouldn’t usually come across within our remit at work.
I also had the opportunity to meet Mike O’Keeffe, a somewhat icon with the industry (stay tuned for the upcoming podcast). Mike runs the Ohio program, which entails a University degree and work within the US. Meeting distributor Frank Eckert from Orlando, who serves a large number of the East Coast MLS members, and hearing the ways that machinery is imported and distributed widened my knowledge and I now better appreciate the process. All of these encounters have opened doors, with the possibility of creating exchange programs which could see groundstaff from world-class venues working at local grounds and clubs, sharing experience and knowledge both ways. This is fantastic, especially for those who would otherwise not get the opportunity.
I have spoken with peers who are willing to allow site visits and opportunities to volunteer for match preparation. I cannot stress the importance of seeing how other venues are prepared, simple solutions to small problems could save a large amount of time and effort. Bringing that experience back and implementing it at your own workplace.

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