Tom Stebbins is quick to admit that the Spokane Golf & Travel Show he and his wife, Karen, first put on in 1999 suffered through some “ugly years” during its infancy.
But the co-owners of Vision Marketing remained steadfast in their efforts to improve the quality of their annual event. And this year, they feel they have taken it to “a whole new level” with the addition of exhibits from many of the world’s leading golf equipment manufacturers.
According to Stebbins, representatives from Henry-Griffitts, Nike Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Adams Golf, Callaway Golf and Cobra will be on hand to show off their latest products at this year’s 14th annual show, Feb. 18-19 at the Spokane Convention Center.
“It’s monstrous,” Stebbins said of finally being able to get such big-name manufacturers on board, thanks to the event’s new affiliation with Golf Universe, a Kennewick-based retailer that will sponsor a “Try and Buy Zone” at this year’s show.
“We’re more excited than ever about what we’ve put together,” Stebbins said. “The addition of all of these major manufacturers makes our product comparable to any big-city consumer show.”
Sales representatives from each participating manufacturer will display and demonstrate their new lines of golf clubs and other equipment first shown last month at the prestigious Orlando (Fla.) PGA Merchandise Show.
Show attendees will be able to personally test those clubs in a new 30x100-foot hitting net that will be part of Golf Universe’s “Try and Buy Zone.”
The hitting net will feature individual hitting stations for all manufacturers, and consumers will be able to purchase products on-site from Golf Universe sales representatives.
“We’ll have manufacturers who have never been here before and golf merchandise that people have wanted but we’ve not been able to deliver,” Stebbins said. “This will be totally new and different from what we’ve done in the past.”
Adding to Stebbins’ excitement is willingness of the Inland Empire Section of the Pacific Northwest PGA to embrace his event more than it has in the past.
As part of the section’s increased involvement, seven or eight local PGA club professionals will be giving short instruction sessions and tips at a pair of hitting nets separate from the “Try and Buy Zone.”
Indian Canyon Golf Course’s head professional, Gary Lindeblad, will be conducting teaching seminars throughout the show for the first time.
“The local pros will be providing tips for whoever shows up,” Stebbins said. “So if you’ve got a hitch in your game, they’ll spend a few minutes handing out some quick tips. … We thought we had a great golf show last year, and that energized us to take it to a whole new level, which we think we have.”