You can call the Connecticut Golf Show a major.
At a time when consumer golf shows have suffered sagging attendance, the Connecticut show, entering its ninth year March 22-24 at the Connecticut Convention Center, thrives.
“It bucks the trend of most consumer golf shows,” says Brian Beaky of Varsity Communications, which runs the show. “The vast majority start up, last a couple of years, and go away. We run eight consumer golf shows around the country, and only Seattle, with about 10,000 attendees, regularly outdraws Hartford.”
It’s a close call. The Connecticut Show expects upwards of 9,000 attendees this year, up 50 per cent from when it opened almost a decade ago.
The CSGA will present at the show. On Friday (only) at 2:15 p.m. on the main stage, veteran CSGA rules official Steve Basson will address this year's changes to the Rules of Golf, a chance for attendees not only to learn the new rules but discover how they can benefit from them.
It's one of the many ways the Connecticut Golf Show is beyond a mere "expo." More than 110 exhibitors from the golf and related industries will display and offer for sale new clubs, apparel, accessories, as well as measuring devices and swing trainers that are increasingly a part of the game. An indoor driving range, skills contests, lessons from top pros like George Connor, and a front-door giveaway package that includes as many as five rounds of golf are part of the appeal of a $14 ticket.
Another reason to attend: At the CSGA booth, we will offer the 2019 Connecticut Golf PlayBook for $25, about $5 off the cover price. The PlayBook contains 70 offers from courses, shops and simulator clubs around the state.
One of those offers is from Chris Cote’s Golf Shop, a longtime sponsor of the show and a CSGA partner, who will use two 26-foot trucks to transport equipment from his Portland store to Hartford.
“We have been attending the show for seven years and have been presenting sponsor for four, and we just signed a three-year extension,” says Chris Cote. “This show has helped put us on the Connecticut golf map. Eleven years ago I was working out of my garage in Portland selling used golf equipment on eBay. Really an amazing small business story! The week after the golf show our phones are ringing off the hook with golfers scheduling golf club fitting. It kicks off our season.”
The show opens Friday March 22 at 11:00 a.m in the convention center’s Hall B. Hours are Friday 11-5, Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4. Tickets are $14, $13 for military, police, firemen and seniors. The price includes a sleeve of balls and greens fees at several courses. A $29 three-day pass adds a Wednesday Travelers Championship ticket and entry into a drawing for TaylorMade and Ping golf clubs. Register at ctgolfshow.com