Golf Industry Show (GIS) 2020 Orlando

The 2020 Golf Industry Show (GIS) was held in Orlando Florida this year at the Orange County Convention Centre (2nd biggest convention centre in the US behind Chicago).

Official stats from the GCSAA on GIS and education conference:

6,200 seminar seats filled.

12,000 people attended the week

The trade show covered 4.1 hectares with 500 exhibitors. To be honest it didn’t really look like that to me from previous show I attended. However, everything this year was more spaced out so I am not surprised it took up that much space. The comment was also made that the north/south concourse was used instead of the normal west concourse which is quite a lot bigger. Don’t get me wrong the show is still big and there is a lot to see. I especially liked the drone area showcasing different drones you can use.

This summary is from my perspective I’m sure others that attended saw and learnt different things to me.

My week started off for the education conference attending the following talks:


How to Understand Yourself and Others…Win the Room and Get What You Want.

There has been a push in the US to expand beyond the agronomic side of the talks into management and leadership which is a good addition. The speakers they had for this talk was the grounds manager from Goodwood Estate in the UK and a CEO of Radius Sports Group. The thing I liked about this session was that you had the practical knowledge of the turf manager along with “corporate speak.” It made you more aware of the different people you deal with day to day from staff members to members to your GM and board. Each colour (group) have their own unique characteristics are depending on their personality. I think this session could go all day in with more

Are New Herbicides Better or Are They Just New?

Dr Scott McElroy presented this session and is well known to Australian supers being the keynote speaker at the NZ conference as well as visiting Sydney and Nth QLD a few years prior.

New herbicides there aren’t any coming. No new modes of action (MOA) besides PoaCureâ. This is scary especially in the fight against poa. So the lesson here is loo at not just rotating MOA but also tank mix your MOA to delay resistance. Scott spoke about how resistance occurs as well with the mechanisms that need to be in place for this to happen. He also spoke about the rotation and the need for tank mixing of products different MOA as well. In the US there are more herbicide actives but not MOA than what we have really. Scott mentioned that not all herbicides are great on each weed they control and there can be your gold, silver and bronze type herbicides. All are useful but know the limitations of each products you use. This is where good independent university research comes.


The Real Turf Truth: An advanced look into turfgrass disease management

This was a talk which was not part of the conference itself. Dr Hovarth (University Tennessee and Dr Kerns (North Carolina University) decided to host their own seminar from feedback they get during the year with their travels. The GCSAA plans their education session 12 months ahead so if there are any new topics that pop up they tend to have to wait another 12 months.

This session focused on how fungicides work and the interaction with plants as well as resistance. The second part of the 3 hour discussion was on Pythium and the differences between, pythium blight, pythium root rot and Pythium root dysfunction (as far as I am aware this strain has never been documents here). The interesting observation is that Pythium blight is rare these days, not that it is not there but with the cultural practices and the strength of a lot of newer fungicides not much is seen. Pythium root rot is another kettle of fish and is still difficult to control. While root dysfunction needs to be treated very differently to normal Pythium and not all Pythium fungicides work the same way. As well as the research there was great discussion from superintendents on their experiences. I applaud Jim and Brandon for putting this on. I had a great discussion with them afterwards and would love to get them out here one year.

Get with the Program: Learn to Build a Weed Control Program for Your Facility

Presented by 4 professors

Dr Jim Brosnan (University Tennessee)

Dr Mathew Elmore (extension specialist Rutgers University)- first time I met him very knowledgeable- watch this space. He’s been doing some cool work with poa seedhead suppression as well which I heard him speak at a supplier breakfast).

Dr Gerald Henry (University of Georgia)

Dr Aaron Patton (Purdue University)

There wasn’t any ground breaking information on products here but more on how you approach a weed management plan. The idea was to get you to think about your weed program over 2-3 years and mix up what you do each year. So for instance if you used Barricade or Embargo in the spring in 2019 use another mode of action in 2020 such as Specticle.

Wednesday & Thursday Trade Show

Not much to say her besides form pictures. However the funny thing I put on the facebook page Turf Management Australia was a ride on hole changer- it was by far the most popular post.

On the last day I attended the closing session for the first time. This is where they have presentations for the Turf Bowl winner. This is a competition for all the turf schools. Any university can submit a team or a few teams to compete in a test based series over a day. They present the top 10 teams in order with a cheque and recognition. I really like this idea, similar to what we do with our graduates except the US is more theory based rather than an interview from what I understand. As well they have a speaker or entertainer to finish off the show. It’s somewhat very American but not too bad at all.

As well I was on the Pullin Weeds Podcast which is run by the Carloinas association. All information is here

I was also a guest on turf lego wtih Dr Ben Mcgraw from Penn State. Just look at this twitter link

On the Friday I headed to university of Florida- I had been there 3 years ago and you can read about it here.

I caught up with my friend Dr Phil Harmon. He met me at their research facility. He showed me the different varieties they have All warm season of course. They have 2 other facilities like this in the state up north and down south. You have to remember here Florida is a huge golfing mecca and the amount of money there is in Florida is amazing so golf needs to work better and smarter to keep up with demands. As well like Australia the home lawn market is dominate by buffalo varieties. However in their main one has been prone to a virus and have developed another one called citrablue. Reminds me of QLD blue couch.I also recorded a podcast with Phil which will be available in the next few months. Can be found on our podcast page

These are a few pictures from the day.

Lastly I did a daily VLOG which can be viewed here as well as a summary for the time on my our podcast

For those looking to head over to GIS down the track and haven’t been before these are my recommendations:

Look at the education conference (8 hour, 4 hour, 2 hour seminars) not just the general sessions.

Take advantage of the education as you really dive deep into topics, plus you get to meet many other superintendents and university professors who are always willing to answer questions.

The trade show is big but shouldn’t be the main aim of the week. The education sessions and the networking are more important. 

Next year GIS is in Las Vegas (last time the show was here was in 2012) Dates are 30th January – 4th February. If anyone is planning on going and wants some help please contact me.

Article by Nadeem Zreikat Colin Campbell (Chemicals)

Opinions and views in this article are my own.