The New England Regional Turfgrass Conference & Show took place this week in Providence Rhode Island. I joined my fellow co-workers today at the convention center and finally got a real idea of just how far the turf industry stretches. It was amazing to see just how many different working parts there are to something that seems so basic. You go golfing or you work on a golf course and think to yourself, “okay you got lawn mowers and golf carts, seems simple enough.” But once you step on the trade show floor it finally hits you. I’ve been to trade shows before for auto and construction and this was right on par(pun intended) with what I had seen before. The amount of vendors, from fertilizers, pesticides, PGR’s, irrigation, design and construction, light equipment and tools is overwhelming. Not only that but a course superintendent or assistant is going to three or four of these a year, spend a few years in the industry and you begin to develop a solid work relationship with a lot of these guys. It’s great to see how close-knit the whole industry is while at the same time being so far-reaching. You’re never really on your own when you’ve got so many business connections like it is in this case. There’s always someone you can call when you need to borrow a piece of equipment and there’s always someone you’re comfortable with that you can get in contact with should you ever have a problem you can’t handle.
The seminars are a great part of the experience as well. You get to learn some up to date information from people at the forefront of the industry. Whether it’s your pesticide license or your GCSAA membership you can sit in on an informational seminar and learn some new things you can apply at work and at the same time take care whatever certification credits you may need. The superintendent and the assistants sat in on a seminar detailing the effects of anthracnose and annual bluegrass weevil on Poa annua while the shop mechanics attended seminars on sprayer maintenance, calibration and use and how to maintain and ensure optimum performance on mower reels. I joined the mechanics for the seminar on spraying seeing as how that would be a primary responsibility of mine come summer time.
Overall, the conference is just a great atmosphere to be in. It’s a great place to network and meet people in the industry if you’re new to it all and for those who’ve been a part of it for a while it’s like a class reunion of sorts. A place to meet up with others you may have gone to school with, worked with before and in a lot of cases the sales reps that you associate with on a regular basis. You can observe the progression made in the industry from the vendors you’re familiar with and also discover the newest technologies from companies trying to break their way into the industry. One thing is for sure, being there today was a nice appetizer to get me ready for the entrée that is the upcoming golf season.