My top 10 things from the GIS show:
10. Green speed class
I arrived early in Anaheim for this class, and it did not disappoint. Dr. Nikolai is a talented speaker with a great sense of humor, plus, he obviously has a mastery over the topic. And, now I know what a pool table Stimps at (15 to 16 feet).
9. The Agrium guys
By the Agrium guys, I specifically mean David Pursell and Dr. Jeff Higgins. Higgins is always a character and a fun guy to talk to, Pursell usually a bit more subdued. But Pursell surprised me this trip -- he was like a kid in a candy store. During a meeting in their booth, I watched Pursell hand out mini-basketballs and joke with booth visitors… I’ve never seen him so cheerful before. I asked Pursell what’s changed for him since his Pursell Technologies had been acquired by Agrium Advanced Technologies, to which he replied with a smile, “I’m much wealthier now!” Those guys were having a lot of fun, as proven by the “Connoisseur of manure” shirts they were handing out. I asked Higgins, “Have you ever seen this guy so chipper?” while gesturing towards Pursell, and he responded, “Have you seen the size of his wallet?”
6. The Coolwell
This was the (pardon the pun) coolest new product I saw at the GIS. The Coolwell is an air conditioner and a heater for a golf car. And no, I’m not talking about one of those plastic-enclosed, try unsuccessfully to heat an entire golf car cabin gizmos. This was a simple system that had a pipe that blew cool air (40 degrees) on the back of your neck (that's me on the left, getting the Coolwell treatment). Tell me that wouldn’t feel good while driving around the golf course on a hot summer day. The Coolwell was powered by the golf car batteries and a block of ice. And you can also use the unit as a cooler for your tasty beverages.
5. Crushing Neuty at ESPNZone
The ESPNZone in Anaheim was one man’s nightmare – his name, Eric “Double Bogey” Neuteboom (that's him pictured left, about to chuck another Grossman style INT). Alas, poor Neuty did not know what he was getting into when we had our showdown in basketball, baseball and football at the 'Zone. On the regulation height pop-a-shot, I more than doubled him up, shooting 52 % from the field to his 25 %. He bested me in his sport, baseball, throwing a fastball 47 mph to my best of 44. But in the tiebreaker, football –- I had no mercy. It was deep pass after deep pass, where I hung 87 points on the board to Neuty’s 52. Neuty grabbed his hamstring following that drubbing and inexplicably claimed he was suffering from turf toe.
4. BASF/House of Blues
The BASF bash at the Anaheim House of Blues was exactly what I hoped –- a great group of folks, fun games and plenty to eat and drink. A few of us from the GCM staff tried our hand at the blackjack tables with BASF’s play money, and realized we weren’t meant to be professional gamblers. All I know is that Hollister told me to “double down,” which I did, and then after I lost my money, he told me the dealer didn’t “deal that right.”
3. Catching up with old friends
Year to year, it’s always one of the best things about the show. From a few of my pals that went on the New Orleans trip with me (Steve Sarro, Greg Blew, CGCS, Mike Osley, CGCS) to my old pal Marlan Harris who doesn’t work in the turf industry but just happens to live in the area, it’s always good to catch up with friends who don’t live in your area code.
2. My chapter newsletter editor presentation
I finally gave my own presentation at the GIS, and it appears I did well, according to attendees of the session (as opposed to my Mom, who was not in attendance, but always thinks I do a great job at anything I do).I went to the chapter newsletter editor session and gave a talk on headline writing, interviewing and editing. They slotted me for an hour, which made me nervous, but wouldn’t you know I took an entire hour. Even answered a few questions. I ran into “The Reporter” (Iowa GCSA) editor Nicol Jones at the BASF event, and she told me that when she saw I was GCSAA staff, she assumed they just pulled me in as a last-minute fill-in. But then I gave my presentation, and I actually had a lot of useful information to share. These people all filled out evaluations, so I’ll know the real opinion soon, but so far, so good.
1. Hanging with Johnny Miller
No. 1 on my top 10 has to be hanging out with Johnny Miller for a couple hours on the trade show floor and then for lunch. Ed Hiscock called me as I was waiting out Miller for a quick interview. Next thing I know, Ed wants me to shadow Miller while he cruises the show. Next thing I know after that, Miller is asking me what booth I think we should visit next (of course we eventually ended up at the GCM booth). Miller was a nice guy, gave me lots of good quotes and even a putting tip. (More on this in a future blog post.)
All in all, a great Golf Industry Show. If you weren’t there, you better have had a good excuse. Just look at all I did! Even if you would have just stuck with me, you could have met Johnny Miller, played a couple hands of blackjack with me and Hollister, and then got beaten mercilessly at Pop-a-Shot. (And that's not to mention the educational opportunities, the networking, the newest products the industry has to offer... you get the picture.)
So I’ll see you next year in Orlando, right?