Forget housing starts, Wall Street or employment statistics.
You want the best barometer for the economy? Look no further than the Chicago Golf Show.
The show shattered its attendance records last weekend, with 19,200 golf-crazy Chicagoans cramming the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. on Feb. 22-24. That’s the most in the show’s 30-year history, and a sign of good things to come for the golf industry.
The show bested 2012’s record numbers by 15 percent, according to show organizer Tom Corcoran. In 2012, attendance was 16,700, an increase of 12 percent over 2011.
In the last two years, attendance at the Show was up 27 percent.
“This year’s Chicago Golf Show was the most successful in the 30-year history of the event,” Corcoran said in a release.
The number of exhibitors increased to 189 from 187, also a record, Corcoran added.
Corcoran attributed the attendance increase to a number of factors:
- The fourth year of the Show’s Free Golf promotion in which every attendee is invited to sign up for a free round of golf, courtesy of GolfVisions, Inc., which operates a dozen courses in the Chicago area;
- The sponsor, the BMW Championship, gave 200 practice tickets each day of the show to the first 200 people to enter;
- The appearance of World Golf Hall of Fame member and Golf Channel commentator Lanny Wadkins on the show’s Daily Herald Golf Academy Stage, courtesy of the Encompass Championship;
- A large number of golf wholesalers, who, as always, offered attendees incredible deals on clubs, balls, shoes, apparel and more;
- A comprehensive marketing and advertising program aimed at touching golfers and golf fans of all backgrounds via a variety of outdoor, print, online, radio, TV, social media and online communications;
- The ongoing support of the Illinois PGA, 40 of whose members provided attendees with free instruction in full-swing, short game and putting.
In addition to the Illinois PGA, other local golf institutions participating in the show this year were the Western Golf Association, which conducts BMW Championship as part of the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup Playoff series; the Encompass Championship, the PGA TOUR’s new Champions Tour event in the Chicago area; the Illinois Junior Golf Association, which provided complimentary admission to its members; the Chicago District Golf Association, which runs amateur tournaments and handicap services for golfers in the region, and the Executive Women’s Golf Association.
“For the last 30 years, the Chicago Golf Show has tried to appeal to golfers of all kinds based on the one thing they all share in common: a passion for golf,” Corcoran said. “The Chicago Golf Show is a place where attendees can get great prices on a huge selection of golf clubs, balls, shoes, apparel and more. But it also is a place where they can have fun with friends and family, hit the latest clubs, get fitted for a new set of clubs, learn more about how to play the game, find out about new places to play locally and at golf resorts around the country, get a subscription to Golf Digest and find out about tournaments to attend or participate in. There’s something for everyone at the Chicago Golf Show.”
The 2013 Chicago Golf Show again featured an expansive indoor driving range at “Chicago’s Largest Demo Days” sponsored by the Swan Lake Resort of Plymouth, Ind. There, golfers hit the latest new clubs from a range of the industry’s most popular manufacturers, including Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno Srixon, TaylorMade, Tour Edge, U.S. Kids Golf and Wilson Golf, among others. GreenGrass Clubfitting – which has never missed a show – provided attendees with information on custom club fitting.
The Chicago Golf Show is the nation’s oldest consumer golf show and one of the largest.
The 31st annual Chicago Golf Show is set for Feb. 21-23, 2014 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
But the golf show season isn’t done yet. Come visit GolfTime Magazine at the Greater Milwaukee Golf Show March 1-3, 2013, at The Wisconsin Exposition Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park, Milwaukee, Wis. Stop and see us at Booth #116!