Impressions of the 2018 Toronto Golf Show

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It has become an annual tradition and an important step closer to the start of the golf season in southern Ontario.  Having attended this show for almost 10 years now I have seen some significant changes over the years; mostly good.  This years’ show was a favourite of mine and I feel the organizers are always working for a strong balance of exhibitors to reflect both the golf and the travel components.

My purpose for attending the show has changed over time.  In my early days, before I was writing about golf, my sole intent was to seek as many free rounds of golf as possible and hoard information on courses in Ontario and destinations across Canada which I dreamed of playing.  Those early days (for me) provided more significant giveaways.  Today, there are less opportunities for free rounds but many more opportunities to win – rounds, trips and more.  What is more important for me now is making and maintaining connections with people in the golf industry whom I have gotten to know.

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The rule has never changed – don’t touch a trophy unless you’ve won it.

I was surprised when I left that I had only been there less than three hours, but I could see the people I wanted, meet some new people, grab information which is still relevant to me and walk the floors and up and down each booth to get a feel for the energy and buzz of the show.

My first surprise was when I arrived; with less than an hour to opening I was about 100 in line.  A cold rainy morning is likely to blame, but this was a far cry from years past where the line snaked around and went out the door.  The line was so manageable that I queued up for free golf.    A popular promotion, many Ontario courses offer up free twosomes early in the season.  With a limit of 5000 rounds over the three days, this is a popular aspect of the show.  With the time and a decent space in line I felt fortunate to get a course which while not on my bucket list has been of high interest for me to experience.  Less than hour after opening the floors were packed with visitors so my good fortune was not at the expense of overall crowds for opening day.

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Friends may wonder why I didn’t spend my entire afternoon here.

The layout of the space – and it is expansive – is well thought out.  Equipment manufacturers occupy a large area, complete with space to try the latest product.  PGA Ontario offers, as they have for years, 10 minute lessons with certified teaching professionals.  Golf Canada and Golf Ontario are prominent, as they have been for years as well.  Travel destinations – local, national and international (and not all golf related) occupied significantly more space than past years and it is nice to see an increased balance to the Travel aspect of the show.  Of course, golf courses and resorts, along with golf marketing bodies, are core business and these take up most of the space.  Many exhibitors offer excellent specials which one can only access at the show.  Regions are smart to provide package specials and stay and play offers to entice a Toronto audience away to experience golf further than they may normally go to play.  The value options are outstanding.  Friends I have gotten to know from Golf PEI, Golf North and Golf Cape Breton were all in attendance.

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Always a pleasure to meet Jay from the Thirty 6ix Golf Co.

An influx in exhibitors in other areas of the game – apparel, history/memorabilia, nutrition, fitness, and even the official beer of 36aday, Triple Bogey Brewery – reflects the increased diversity and a more holistic approach to exhibiting options.  There is a food court and a few high profile discounted golf retailers around too.

The show also profiles speakers and instructors throughout the weekend.  You may recall last year I had an opportunity to meet Dean Snell who was a key presenter on the Friday and Saturday.

I left with less than a quarter of the information and swag I used to bring home from my early years.  But I did get what I wanted from the show; a couple new business cards and important conversations with friends; two rounds of golf and some apparel options for the upcoming year.  Most importantly, I left with a sense that this may have been the best Toronto Golf and Travel Show experience I have had in my 10 years of attendance.  I can’t see how anyone would leave not feeling pleased, there really is something for everyone there.

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Didn’t take long after opening for things to get busy.

Click here to read about my 2017 visit.

Click here to read about my 2015 visit.

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: RollReady™

Product Review: RollReady™

www.rollready.com

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The question was a simple one, “How do you clean your golf ball on the green?”

This was one of the first questions posed to me from RollReady™ President, Adnan Darr.  We recently met to discuss his new product and for him to share a sample for me to preview.  I had intentionally not done any research into the product so as to allow myself a natural and unbiased first impression.  But it was this question that gave me pause for reflection and made me realize the inconsistency and possibly unhealthy approaches I have taken to clean my golf ball while on the green.  Adnan was confident he had the solution and presented me a RollReady™ to put in play and preview.

Back to my first impressions; the product is incredibly light and seemingly non-intrusive.  The unit clips onto a players’ belt or pants and can easily be positioned to pose no risks to impeding a golf swing.  The convenience of wearing the product provides anytime access to clean your golf ball on the green.  My first impressions were positive and I was curious to put this into play.  In addition to the function of RollReady™, our discussion covered off details of the developmental process and his efforts to gain traction into marketplaces such as ClubLink and other courses.  Adnan truly believes he has a winner on his hands and having put this product into play for six rounds now I can’t disagree.  Here are my reflections having used the product.

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After 6 rounds of use.  Still functional but time for a cleaning.

I was impressed by the simplicity of the design and the initial quality of the product.  I reflected back to times where I had forgotten to bring a towel to the green or was wearing a lighter short or pant and was concerned about cleaning the ball in my pocket…or worse where I would give the ball a quick spit clean.  RollReady™ seemed prepared to take care of all this for me in a quick and easy way, and it did.  Spinning the ball within the unit removes the surface dirt from approach shots effectively.

Retailing for $9.99 the unit is reasonably priced for the service it provides.  However, there are some important points for a consumer to understand, and Adnan and I discussed these and my experiences validated these; RollReady™works in both dry and wet course conditions but players need to be mindful of the conditions to maximize the effectiveness of it.  For example, in damp conditions the unit works exceptionally well in cleaning the ball but does not serve to dry the ball.  In dry conditions players are recommended to dampen the inside of the product to help aid the cleaning process.  I found I had to dampen it every 4 holes or so for it to remain effective so there is some maintenance to consider but over the course of a round there is time to easily do this if you have water on hand.  This is a level of maintenance which some players may find challenging but it is important to keep the product ready to work optimally.

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Surprisingly light and the belt clasp is strong.  And no impact on my swing.

Another important point to know pertains to the lifespan of the product.  Similar to golf gloves, a RollReady™ will not operate at maximum efficiency forever, it is prone to wear.  I feel that this unit will operate ideally for about 10-15 rounds depending on course conditions.  The microfiber cloth inside is prone to getting dirty but instructions advise on how to clean (using non-soapy water and your fingers, not soap and a cloth).  Depending on the number of rounds a player plays each year they will need to consider this if ordering direct.  There are a small number of courses around the Greater Toronto Area which are making RollReady™ available.

Overall, I really like this product.  I understand and acknowledge its limitations but appreciate what it provides for me.  It is lighter and stronger than I had anticipated, works well and does not impede with my golf swing.  It requires more active maintenance than expected and after about 15 rounds I will need to order a new one.  But it is convenient and works very well.  I advise golfers to try it and make your own informed decision on whether this product is for you.  The website provides relevant information on the product, its use and how to order.