In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Carolinas GCSA has transformed its traditional in-person Conference and Trade Show into an online education-only event so that, this year, Conference Comes to You, no matter where you are.
Participants can sit for as many or as few of 30 distinct seminars scheduled – one a day – over 30 days this fall, starting November 2. The two-hour classes start at 1pm EST, making the education accessible whether you are in Nevada, Nova Scotia or Nottinghamshire.
The Carolinas GCSA has invested in tailored software to make the attendee experience as smooth and seamless as possible. The vast majority of classes will be presented live and carry GCSAA education points and, in participating states, pesticide credits.
In addition to first-class education, participants will also share in $30,000 worth of cash prizes.
Registration opens later this month but already a growing list of GCSAA affiliated chapters are partnering to promote the event to their members and will receive a share of revenues as a result. Among states where chapters have already signed on as co-promoters are Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
“We have created a platform with the potential for everyone to benefit, and the more people who participate the more benefit there will be for everyone,” Carolinas GCSA president, Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG from Highlands Country Club in Highlands, NC, says.
“Clearly, we’re not the only association that has been forced to cancel meetings and events. But members can’t put their professional development on hold or wait until there is a vaccine to access the latest research and advancements. We’re all living in an extraordinary time right now, which is why we are taking extraordinary steps to make the best of it.”
The Carolinas GCSA’s annual Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, SC is the largest regional event for golf course superintendents in the country. But the association canceled this year’s in-person event after surveying members, exhibitors and educators this summer.
“That was arguably the biggest and toughest decision in the history of our association,” Stiehler says. “But out of that disappointment, we’ve come up with a Plan B that we believe has the potential to deliver an A-plus outcome, not just for our members but for superintendents and their chapters across the country and even overseas.”