I was invited by my friend Serge to visit him in Ottawa to attend the Ottawa/Gatineau Golf Expo last Friday. Missing the golf show in Toronto, I decided this was a great opportunity to visit my friend and to attend one of my favourite events. I packed up the car on Thursday, drove 3.5 hours to Serge’s place, stayed the night and headed to the expo for noon on Friday. Overall, the expo was a good experience and I met many like minded individuals in the golf industry; however it did fall short a bit with respect to the vendors. Let me explain.
Of the vendors, I would suggest that 95% were representing local golf courses. There was only one international vendor and they were from Ocean City in Maryland. I enjoyed talking to them and might consider golfing down in their area in the future.
As I stated, the rest represented local (within 2 hour drive of Ottawa) golf courses. For a resident of Ottawa, this was a fantastic opportunity to understand just how many courses there are in the area. I actually played several of the courses and it actually was a walk down memory lane. I did not talk to all the representatives, but the ones that I did chat with were very positive and offered some insight into their golf course.
Of the vendors I did talk to, I thought I would provide their link in case you are in the Ottawa area and looking for a game:
- Irish Hills Golf and Country Club – I talked to Ryan Hale Director of Golf
- Loyalist Country Club – I have played there before and reviewed the course. I would recommend it as a great place to play golf. I chatted with Geoff James the Director of Sales and Marketing
- Brockville Country Club – looks like a great place to play
- Royal Laurentien – My friend Serge is playing there in a group this spring
Most of major manufacturers were represented. They offered fittings if you were interested in purchasing clubs, but since I bought a new set of irons the day before I only hit a few of the new sticks. My friend Serge was looking for a 3 hybrid so he had fun test driving what was out there. He found one club he liked better than the rest and the rep was suppose to email him the specs of the club, but he has not received it yet. When he does, I think he will go to a local golf shop and get a more detailed fitting.
Of the manufacturers, the most interesting was James Holobow from Callaway. He was all set for a fitting if required or just talk golf. I have always liked the Callaway woods and decided to hit the new Mavrik 3-wood. I hit the club well, but it is March and if I really wanted to compare apples to apples, I would need to bring my old 3 wood in and compare stats. Regardless, James was an excellent person to talk too, was very knowledgeable, and was the representative I enjoyed chatting with the most.
I also received a quick tip for the PGA of Canada teaching professionals. It was free and I hit their driver. I talked about hitting up on the ball during contact our discussion lead to me understanding body position better during contact. In the short time I talked to the representative, nothing profound was discovered. I just enjoyed chatting with the teaching pro.
There was an area for kids to try their hand at hitting golf balls. It was the fun zone that I think was sponsor by Ontario Golf Association (OGA). This is always a great idea and as the day progressed, more young golfers took advantage of this fun zone.
There was also a rep from OGA talking about the new world handicap system. I took some information and will talk about that in the near future. One think we did agree on is that more golfers should join their respective organizations to establish a handicap. There seems to be a lack of interest to do this, but that is a discussion for another day.
Overall the Ottawa/Gatineau Golf Expo was best suited for golfers around the Ottawa area. I guess this makes sense; yet as an outsider I was hoping for more. One of my mistakes was my expectations. I was thinking of the Toronto Golf Show when travelling to Ottawa and should have know better. The Toronto Golf Show was easily 3 or 4 times larger, hence more of everything. Thus, I did not manage my expectations well enough. I will know better next time.
I want to thank Serge for hosting me for the evening. Getting caught up and chatting about golf and curling was definitely the highlight of the trip. Keeping everything in mind, I would say that my trip was a success.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!