Reflections on the 2019 Toronto Golf and Travel Show
Winter is leaving southern Ontario anytime soon and between seemingly weekly storms, the Toronto Golf and Travel Show was hosted at the International Centre near Pearson Airport. The venue remained the same, the space was new and the energy on opening day was fabulous. I’ve attended this show for many years now and you may have read previously about my experiences.
I continue to focus more on the people but come at this from a golfers’ perspective who is exploring opportunities for information, giveaways and new products to see and experience, and maybe even make a purchase or two. A few things really stood out for me:
- There’s always something new.
I walked the floor three times and enjoyed the chance to visit new exhibitors. Senor Style is a Kingston-based company with a focus on socks and box subscription options. I had been looking for a unique golf belt and purchased a Red, White and Blue adjustable belt which will go well with my style and wardrobe on the course. While there’s gentlemen fashion options – belts, watches and lapel pins – the core business are socks, and there’s many of them to choose from.
I also visited TruLOCAL, a Canadian company which ships locally sources meat and foods straight to your door. Based in Kitchener, ON, this company stresses quality, convenience and local support for sustainable food development.
Trust me, as the exhibitor list shows, there’s plenty of golf representation here. I appreciated the diversity and these are two examples I was struck by.
- All things golf.
Specific to golf you can find courses, manufacturers, retailers, instructors, travel and tour operators, fitness and wellness services, liquidators and distributors, brewers, historians, educators and golfers (of course) all under one roof.
The annual 5000 round giveaway which is hugely popular and accounts for the early lineups was a hit. Many courses and course companies offered show specials. I took my time this year and entered a few draws for destinations I would like to return to or experience for the first time.
The balance of golf and travel may have been the best I have experienced. Some credit to the organizers and to the exhibitors themselves who are successfully marketing the golf and travel seamlessly and effectively.
- Old friends.
Over the years, I have gotten to meet many exhibitors. Special Olympian Jason Scorcia was a highlight. Of course, he brought his medals and I was proud to buy a colouring book to support his travel, participation and advocacy efforts. I visited with Jay at the 36 Golf Co. Jay and Chevy’s products are prominent in my closet and have featured in this winter’s annual giveaway and I bought some new items from their growing collection too. Some folks were too busy for me to connect with and my friends at Golf PEI were held back a day due to winter weather (though their materials were well displayed, and we connected up later that night). I tried new product from the official golf beer of 36aday, the Triple Bogey Brewing and Golf Company. I was pleased to see Snell Golf Canada present and introduced myself to the local rep for Shinebox who now owns the rights to Snell product in Canada.
- Living history
I made the time to visit with the Golf Historical Society of Canada. This is where much of my money went – a couple books, a 1915 Spalding iron, and a membership application which is filled out and ready to go. I met a journalist colleague who’s active in the society also.
I also had my picture taken with the Canadian Open trophy again and chatted with people at Golf Canada and Golf Ontario. They had an excellent location and space to engage people as they came by. Both organizations so such important work support and advance the game in Canada.
Lastly, I made it a priority to thank Lars Melander for this leadership and support of the Toronto Golf and Travel Show. Lars and I belong to the same golf club in Burlington, Hidden Lake. Lars, an excellent golfer in his own right, defending his Club Championship successfully this past summer. Of course, he was too busy for us to talk about the coming year. A quick thanks was suffice.
This show helps stoke the fire for me as a golf enthusiast. It also signifies for me that spring is just around the corner and it won’t be long when I can get out and play again.
I’ll look back over the promotional materials from local, regional and international courses from time to time. The show offers something for everyone. The chance to try new equipment, get a quick lesson, listen to speakers, and of course walk the floor and gather as much information, free swag and chances to win as possible are all reasons why this show will continue to be a highlight for me in my annual golf calendar.
In closing, I feel local golf shows are important and provide a valuable opportunity for players to engage with leaders in golf, especially local leaders. In my experience, exhibitors are happy to take a few minutes to discuss their courses or products/services. I value the relationships I have made at this show over the years and really appreciate the richness and diversity of golf and golf travel insight I can get from one afternoon.