The industry showed no lasting effects of recession-induced atrophy as it flexed its muscles again in San Diego.
The mood among attendees and exhibitors at the 2010 Golf Industry Show (GIS), held in the second week of February in San Diego, was decidedly more upbeat than during the previous year’s show. And it wasn’t just because many of those in attendance had escaped the major weather and travel challenges that plagued much of the rest of the country that week to enjoy Southern California’s sun (after a first-day “rain event”) and mild temperatures.
Compared to the bad case of industry-wide angst that was openly on display due to the gathering economic storm at the 2009 GIS in New Orleans (“Reloading for What’s Ahead,” C&RB, March 2009), those at this year’s show clearly seemed convinced that the worst of the downturn has now passed. Certainly, those who were shopping in San Diego were still focused on finding products and services that could continue to help them tighten their properties’ operational belts, or have direct and immediate impact on restoring needed revenues. And those who were selling weren’t yet ready to pile up inventories in anticipation of major ordering sprees.
|Winners of the 2009 Excellence in Club Management (ECM) Awards, co-sponsored by the McMahon Group, Inc. and Club & Resort Business, were honored at the Annual ECM Awards Dinner held during the Golf Industry Show at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Pictured with William P. McMahon, Sr. (far left) and Frank Vain (far right) of the McMahon Group and Phil Kiester (second from left), General Manager, Farmington CC and Chairman of the ECM Award Selection Committee, are the 2009 winners: John Schultz (third from left), Carmel CC; John Corey (middle), Genesee Valley Club; Richard Lareau (third from right), The Briar Club; and Zen Mikulski (second from right), Lehigh CC. Profiles of the 2009 winners will appear in upcoming issue of C&RB.
But the very fact that this year’s show attracted a few more “industry professionals” (general managers, superintendents, golf pros and other managers) than last year, despite the fact that West Coast locations always deter attendance, was seen as a good sign of renewed industry strength. And, while there were 100 fewer exhibitors than in New Orleans and over 1,000 fewer exhibitor staff members in attendance, a new arrangement that housed non-turf-oriented suppliers in a pleasant, naturally lit second-level area (in response to complaints from previous shows that this segment had always been banished to the nether reaches of the main hall) seemed to literally brighten the prevailing atmosphere.
This was the last year for a fully integrated show, however. Next year, while the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association and other sponsoring groups will hold the 2011 GIS in Orlando on February 9-10, the Club Managers Association of America will end its four-year affiliation with the combined-show concept and hold a separate conference and exhibition, also in Orlando, during the last week of February. No one attending in San Diego could speculate with much certainty on how having two separate shows in such a short space of time in the same location will play out, especially with the PGA Merchandise Show also positioned for its usual Orlando location in its usual timeframe at the end of January.
With the help of PGA Tour legend Greg Norman, Cybex International, Inc. featured its “Sweet Spot” Golf Fitness solution at GIS. The all-in-one program includes a recommended fitness center layout, equipment selection, exercise regimens, and communications strategies to engage and motivate members. The installations are highlighted by the Bravo Functional Trainer and the Arc Trainer, which have been shown by independent research to provide a significantly superior workout versus popular ellipticals.
“Staying fit has been a key to success throughout my career,” Norman told GIS attendees. “I’ve worked out almost exclusively on Cybex equipment for years, so this is a truly authentic relationship. I’m extremely impressed with Cybex’s design, focus on exercise science and commitment to innovation.”
More information on how the Cybex Golf Fitness platform is designed to drive year-round revenue, enhance member retention, increase fitness center usage and create a point of distinction is available at www.cybexgolf.com
|Greg Norman drew crowds to the Cybex exhibit to showcase the equipment manufacturer’s “Sweet Spot” Golf Fitness platform.
Following its introduction at the 2009 GIS of the Guardian SVC (Satellite Vehicle Control) fleet protection system, this year Club Car featured Visage, the next generation of in-car mobile information system. Like Guardian, Visage has been developed through a partnership with GPS Industries LLC. Guardian has already been embraced by courses (“The Great Roundup,” C&RB, August 2009) as an expense-reduction tool that can help to limit vehicle access within a property, control vehicle speed, review the history of where a car has been driven, and monitor and diagnose vehicle performance. Visage adds to those capabilities as a two-way, real-time communications vehicle designed to enhance golfers’ experience at the same time it provides proactive marketing capabilities and adds even more behind-the-scenes control for course operators.
“Real-time communication is by far the single-most requested feature that we get when talking to course operators about what they want in an in-car system,” notes Club Car’s Mike Read. To create real-time transmissions and response, Visage utilizes a combination of cellular, wireless and GPS (global positioning system) technologies that make it possible for golfers and course staff to be in contact at any point, or any place, during a round. In addition to providing even more timely course and shot distance information (including 3-D hole flyovers with audio), Visage offers benefits such as:
• Scorecard and tournament management features, to make it easy to keep up with scores of other players during competitions (including unofficial “friendly” ones among foursomes). Scorecards can also be transmitted, to be printed out and picked up in the pro shop after a round.
• Booking new tee times before leaving the course—or, from the management side, communicating to golfers as they finish up that tee times are available if they’d like to keep playing.
|Club Car’s Visage provides real-time information updates—including hard-to-resist menu details—for golfers on the course, while also helping course managers keep up to date from behind the scenes.
• Contact with the grill or mobile beverage vehicles, including display and suggested selling of higher-margin menu items.
• Sending immediate weather, pace-of-play and boundary alerts and promoting pro shop sales, special offers and lessons.
“Every course is looking for those opportunities to get even just one more average dollar out of each round played,” says Read. “Success in meeting those goals comes down to improving customer connectivity and engagement—how frequently and how effectively you can touch players while they’re on your property. When you have the ability to stay connected with [players] the entire time they’re going around the course, four-and-a-half hours offers the opportunity for multiple touch points.”
Visage is available on Club Car’s Precedent and DS electric- and gas-powered golf cars, but it can also be installed on any brand of golf car. Courses installing Visage in their golf car fleets are not required to purchase hardware or license software. Instead, they rent the equipment required and receive service and support as part of an annual commitment.
For more information on Visage and all Club Car products and services, visit www.clubcar.com
Rain Bird Corporation displayed its Integrated Control System—dubbed IC System—for golf course irrigation. The IC System is a control platform that uses Rain Bird’s Integrated Control Technology™ to link a course’s central control directly with its rotors. By incorporating a small Integrated Control Module (ICM) with each rotor, the IC System eliminates the need for decoders or satellite controllers on the course.
|Rain Bird introduced new Hose-End Nozzles with high, medium and low flow rates.
According to Matt Mikucki, Product Manager for Rain Bird’s golf course central control systems, the IC System combines simplicity with lower costs. “With fewer parts, the IC System is easy to design, install and maintain,” Mikucki said. “The IC System requires up to 90% less wire and has simple design parameters that result in faster installation and a significant reduction in the cost of both materials and labor.”
Because control is built right into the rotor, the IC System requires 33-50% fewer splice points, effectively diminishing opportunities for potential failure and simplifying expansion. With the IC System located underground, the risk for damage from vandals, inclement weather or outdoor pests is reduced while surge and lightning protection is provided.
Rain Bird also displayed its new Hose-End Nozzles, which are available with high, medium and low flow rates. All flow rates have a 1-inch inlet, while the medium flow also has a 0.75-inch inlet option. Quick Connect Couples allow users to choose the right nozzle for the application. Each nozzle features an adjustable spray pattern to deliver the precise amount of water distribution needed for any application.
For more information on Rain Bird products, visit www.rainbird.com/golf
|E-Z-GO introduced an enlarged aluminum bed option for its MPT utility vehicles.
E-Z-GO, a Textron Company, displayed its TXT 48 fleet golf car, which updates the company’s electric golf car platform with a 48-volt DC drivetrain and exclusive TruCourse Technology system. TruCourse allows TXT 48 performance characteristics such as acceleration and motor-braking to be altered to best fit the topography and other unique conditions of a course. An optional handheld diagnostic tool provides even greater customization capabilities.
The combination of the 48-volt DC drivetrain and TruCourse Technology also makes the TXT 48 more energy-efficient. The vehicle offers 10 percent greater energy efficiency than the previous 36-volt TXT car, E-Z-GO says, and its improved regenerative braking system provides up to 10 percent more power back into the batteries, under normal operating conditions.
E-Z-GO also featured its popular ST 400 utility vehicle, now available in an electric model with a 48-volt, DC-powered drivetrain that combines outstanding power and torque with enhanced energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact, when compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles.
The ST 400 Electric features a 1,000 lb. total capacity and a 9.6-cubic-foot load bed with a carrying capacity of 550 pounds. The vehicle is available with a variety of different options and accessories, including towing implements, work lights and even a full cab. In addition to the electric model, the ST 400 remains available with a 13-hp Kawasaki gas-powered engine with a hemispheric combustion chamber, to offer exceptional climbing ability with reduced emissions and substantial fuel mileage. The gas model’s engine meets or exceeds the strict standards of the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
E-Z-GO also showcased a new aluminum bed option for its popular MPT line of utility vehicles. The bed offers 14.9 cubic feet of capacity (vs. the standard 9.6) and features a sound-dampening lining that can be hosed out more thoroughly. The bed can be retrofitted to existing vehicles.
For more information on
E-Z-GO, visit www.ezgo.com
|John Deere’s Gregg Breningmeyer says integrated solutions have resonated especially well during a period when operating efficiency is paramount.
John Deere Golf touted how its GIS exhibit had a major “green” presence in more ways than one. In addition to a full display of equipment in Deere’s trademark color, the company put a special emphasis on the sustainability of its show floor appearance, with 90 percent of the materials used in the exhibit consisting of reused content.
This emphasis on environmental responsibility carried through to the products being featured, from Deere’s popular Hybrid fairway and greens mowers to its new line of D50 and D70 series irrigation rotors, which have been completely reengineered with added features that allow for increased reliability, improved ease of serviceability, and better efficiencies in water flow and pressure loss.
Both the D50 and D70 series rotors include a unique air bypass feature that reduces gear drive damage during winterization. The internal assemblies are completely encapsulated and sealed, eliminating the need to replace small individual components. All internal assemblies also include a new gear box with a coarser gear design for increased durability, and a new closed case design with integrated debris inlet filter and stator, to protect the unit from larger debris.
In addition, the D50 series rotors include a completely reengineered lower valve, with a serviceable integrated rock screen that provides improved filtration against large debris. The new lower valve also incorporates an elongated self-cleaning inlet filter. The reengineered lower valves also provide improved opening and closing characteristics in low-pressure and low-flow operations.
John Deere also highlighted its expanded distribution agreement with Lebanon Turf for the Country Club line of fertilizer products.
These extended partnerships, combined with the enhanced coordination that Deere continues to develop through its own commercial, landscaping, golf and turf and irrigation divisions, all enhance the value of integrated solutions that are proving especially important during the current period of economic challenge, says Gregg Breningmeyer, Group Director, Sales & Marketing for John Deere Commercial and Golf & Turf.
“It’s all about how you can help [customers] increase operating efficiencies and stretch every dollar,” Breningmeyer says. “The more expertise and resources you can provide to help with that objective, the more it resonates with what [operators] are now looking for.”
For more information on John Deere products, services and partnerships, visit www.JohnDeere.com
Toro Golf Irrigation released its Lynx™ Control System at the Golf Industry Show. By making all essential irrigation information readily available in one place, the system allows superintendents to promptly act on golf course management decisions, thus improving control of water, utility and labor costs while freeing up time to focus on the quality of turf and course conditions.
The Lynx Control System provides instant access to past, present and planned course management information from multiple irrigation system components, including weather and pump stations, electrical systems, sprinklers, intelligent field controllers, Toro Turf Guard® wireless soil sensors, and more. The system’s distinct user interface combines all essential data and intuitively presents the important information superintendents need, including alerts and scheduled irrigation run times, in one location and an easy-to-use format.
|Toro’s Lynx Control System puts all essential irrigation information at users’ fingertips—and sends alerts when hands-on attention is needed.
“The Lynx Control System is built specifically for golf environments and was developed so superintendents can personalize it to their management practices and the unique requirements of their course,” says David Angier, Senior Marketing Manager for Toro Golf Irrigation. The system includes an Instant Program feature with a simple check-box selection, which allows superintendents to instantly create and add new irrigation programs.
“Dynamic drilldown” of information also allows users to focus only on the areas of a course that require attention, and provides the capability to easily designate pre-set or customized water distribution patterns based on the entire course, specific holes or individual sprinkler heads. After setup is complete, all programs can be accessed from the field using either a handheld radio or a smartphone for manual operation.
Exclusive features such as an auto-generated Course Report lets superintendents know if and when their irrigation ran as planned, or if they need to make changes based on course conditions presented by the system. The system also includes a Power Guard feature to monitor, report and manage electrical usage of the irrigation system.
Details on other products and services featured by Toro Equipment and Toro Golf Irrigation at GIS can be found at a special website, www.toro.com/golf2010
|Jacobsen not only unveiled its Eclipse 322 at GIS, it offered test drives on a special course set up within its exhibit.
Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, not only unveiled its new riding greens mower, the Eclipse 322, it allowed test drives on a special course set up within its exhibit. The Eclipse® 322 is available in three models: battery, gasoline hybrid and diesel hybrid.
For all of the options, the traction motor and reel motors are electrically driven, and two features stand out: they are totally free of hydraulics, and they can be customized to meet the specific requirements of any golf course.
“The battery version is ideal for courses with homes, hotels and condos close by and for those especially concerned about the environment,” says Brian Melka, Jacobsen’s Director of Product Management.
“This is the ‘greenest’ mower available today, with no emissions at the point of use,” Melka adds. “It can reduce operating costs by up to 86% when compared to a traditional hydraulic greens mower. It saves up to 630 gallons of fuel annually, produces 26 fewer gallons of waste oil and reduces labor costs by up to 15 hours each year.
“The two hybrid versions also reduce fuel costs because they do not have large engines powering big hydraulic pumps,” he adds. “All they are doing is providing power to a [generator set] to create the current to drive the relevant traction and reel motors. We have calculated that these hybrids reduce fuel use up to 180 gallons a year, produce 18 fewer gallons of waste oil and can save up to 35% on operating costs.”
For more information on the Eclipse 322 and other Jacobsen products, visit www.jacobsen.com
For Advanced Sensor Technology, the Golf Industry Show was a change to tout UgMO