It’s an annual rite of passage. Locked in the grips of a long Canadian winter, I ventured into downtown Toronto to wander and dream. Let’s be clear, I could attend this show on a weekly basis so I have a significant bias. In 2012, I had my fitting which resulted in a custom fit Ping putter; the first putter I haven’t sworn at or ‘retired’. Having attended this for years now, I have seen the subtle changes. Some exhibitors are no longer coming to Toronto and in their place are new exhibitors. At the core, this is a golf show with a side of travel. But enough of the superlatives, time for the deep dive.
In the early years, I was like a 10 year old at Halloween. I tried to grab as much as I could. Books, discounted rounds and as much free swag as I could gather. My hand hurt with signing for so many draws: free rounds, stay and plays, or vacations. Now, with a focus on quality over quantity and a national focus, I look with a more critical eye. This year, I left with one small bag of information that is important to me, which included business cards. In Toronto, they give away 5,000 rounds of golf each year; a nice incentive to line up early. CPGA professionals offer lessons on site. Instructional sessions are seemingly ongoing with the likes of The Golf Fix’s Michael Breed. And there’s always something for junior golfers – unique giveaways and instructional time.
My small town heart draws me over, year by year, to the booths of Golf PEI and Golf Nova Scotia. This year I spent considerable time talking and listening. I am interested in the sustainability of the industry, the growth of golf in Canada and the opportunities golf ‘destinations’ like eastern Canada have to support this. I spend 15 minutes talking to the General Manager of Authentic Seacoast, John Stapleton, who also runs the quaint and picturesque Osprey Shores resort. We talked golf, business, weather and I had a chance to thank him in person for an amazing stay along with 15 friends last August.
Sure, there was swag (although the quantity seems to diminish each year). There are deals (on golf, golf travel and equipment) and there is instruction, food too, and if you’ve done this for many years there are people to connect with! I joined GTA Golf Club, a golf community which will allow me discounted fees for golf in the Greater Toronto Area; meeting the owners allowed me to ask important questions to inform my decision.
At the end of the day, this is an event that brings excitement, enthusiasm and optimism. Spring WILL eventually get here; the golf season will arrive. And we can wander around and explore places to travel, places to play, equipment to use, and recharge our batteries for a game we love!
Until next year (not next week)! Thanks to the organizers and exhibitors who make the Toronto Golf and Travel Show (and similar shows across the country) possible.