Pattaya, Thailand: Exhibitors and attendees have hailed the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s (AGIF) 2015 Turfgrass Management Exposition as ‘the best yet’.
More than 260 course superintendents from almost 20 countries attended the third edition of the event at Laem Chabang International Country Club last month, held under the auspices of the Thai Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (TGCSA).
Ravindraan Varnagopal, Chief Executive Officer at Malaysia’s Samarahan Country Club, caught the mood. He said: “Congratulations to all those involved in the organisation of this event. It offers a tremendous opportunity for course superintendents and top-level golf club executives in this region to gain knowledge and learn about all the new products in the market.”
The Expo was part of a three-day gathering in the Central Thai beach resort that also included the 7th Asian Turfgrass Field Day and a high-profile conference on Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia.
The conference was organised by the TGCSA, the Thailand Golf Association and the Asian Turfgrass Centre, with support from The R&A.
Working together with the TGCSA, the AGIF Turfgrass Management Exposition featured an array of equipment from 30-plus exhibitors as well as extensive product demonstrations.
While there was much constructive debate on the format of the event, there was general contentment regarding the turnout and the quality of the attendees.
For the first two hours, attendees were able to visit the booths of their choice. This was followed by individual product demonstrations from the respective exhibitors to the entire audience.
Glenn Wright, Jacobsen’s Technical Training Manager, Asia-Pacific, said: “The AGIF-organised Expo at Laem Chabang was a resounding success.
“The demonstration in front of the pavilion was well run with all exhibitors keeping to the 10-minute timeframe. This made the process quick and the demonstration moved along at a good pace.
“Jacobsen, together with its Thai distributor Shriro Equipment (Thailand), was very happy with the turnout. Of particular interest was the number of superintendents visiting the Jacobsen stand to look at new products, to ask good questions and to catch up on the latest news.”
Shane Lee, Technical Sales Manager, Lawn & Garden, Syngenta, Asia Pacific, said: “Overall, the event was successful with participants from various countries. We managed to meet many of our key customers in the APAC region.
“It gave us a good opportunity to exhibit our new XC Nozzle Technology and generate interest from the crowd.”
Like Syngenta’s Lee, George Kinkead, President, TURFCO, put forward various suggestions to improve the experience for all involved.
Kinkead said: “I think the hardest part of an event is getting the right people to attend – and that was accomplished. I enjoyed meeting with several people from multiple countries which is always a benefit to someone who does not come to Asia every month. Thanks for the great event. I will be back.”
Paul Dugmore, Business Development Manager, Asia Pacific Region, Floratine Products Group, added: “The trade day was quite good for us as we made contact with turf managers/suppliers from several different countries that would like to purchase or become distributors.”
Amarit Suwunsawet, Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Green Company, the Thai distributors for Club Car, said: “We were delighted to take part in the Turfgrass Management Exposition and were pleased with the response we received.”
Among the new AGIF members participating were IHI Shibaura Machinery Corporation from Japan and Netherlands-based Maredo BV.
H. Kaneko, representing IHI Shibaura Machinery Corporation, said: “It was a wonderful opportunity, and I believe the event was successfully carried out. Thank you for having given us this chance. We enjoyed everything that was prepared – expo, meetings and dinners. We would like to utilise these Expos in the future.”
Marinus Reincke, Managing Director of Maredo, agreed. He said: “I enjoyed the opportunity to exhibit at Laem Chabang. I met people who initially didn’t know our Maredo programme, but after I explained our range of heads, some of them got excited.
“I like the formula. For the first one to two hours the delegates can visit the exhibitors. The sticker idea is a good one also as it encourages people to visit all exhibitors.
“The central introduction of several machines was good, too. Our main goal was widening our brand awareness. Next we a looking for some good distributors. I think this formula is a good one to build these kind of relations.”
Not everyone, though, agreed with the sticker system, whereby attendees were given a sticker when they visited each booth. At the end a lucky draw was held with prizes going to those who had completed their sticker selection.
Brad Burgess, Managing Director of Sports Turf Solutions, said: “I thought the Exposition went well … [but] I would scrap the sticker deal. Just let those sincerely interested in viewing products come and enquire. Trying to talk to those who wanted to know about the products was difficult while others were more concerned about collecting all the stickers.”
Steve Wilson, a member of the AGIF’s Education Committee, said: “From the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received, it’s clear that the appetite for gatherings such as this around the region is growing.
“We appreciate all the constructive comments that have come through to us. We welcome the fact that so many of the exhibitors have taken the time and effort to put down their thoughts. All of this will be taken on board when looking at the format and set-up for all future events.”
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