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CMAA has decided to withdraw from the Golf Industry Show

Dear CMAA Exhibitor:

Later today it will be publically announced that CMAA has decided to withdraw from the Golf Industry Show. After notifying our members, we wanted you to be among the first to know of this decision, and to explain the action that the CMAA Board of Directors has taken on your behalf.

But, first of all, we want to assure you that the Golf Industry Show scheduled for San Diego February 10-11, 2010, will proceed as planned. GCSAA, NGCOA and CMAA have pledged their full support toward making this show successful for you and for our members. The “Show Within a Show” promises to bring you closer together than ever with key decision-makers in the industry.

First, some background. CMAA Boards and Officers had talked about the value of collaborating on a joint exposition for years. When GCSAA and CMAA finally agreed to a show alliance six years ago, we cited national trends toward alliances to create larger shows. As a strategic move, we believed that combining our three shows (CMAA, GCSAA and NGCOA) it would create a more attractive venue for the vendors and, as a result, create a stronger show to meet the needs of our members.

Because of the size of the new show, we parties agreed that it would be limited to a three city rotation that was popular with our respective memberships: San Diego, Orlando, and New Orleans. We all agreed that no change would be made to this line up without the explicit agreement of all three organizations.

Like all new ventures, this alliance had its rocky moments as organizations with different cultures and priorities found a way to work together. Some CMAA members and traditional vendors, for example, felt that the much larger presence of the superintendents and owners diluted the focus of the show away from a private club’s full range of needs. The national staff has been working intensively since the beginning of the GIS to respond to those needs and enhance the value of the show for both its CMAA members and exhibitors.

Over time, GCSAA had its concerns as well. Among them was a new perception that New Orleans was no longer a popular site for its members. Earlier this year, GCSAA announced to its show partners that it wanted to consider another venue than New Orleans for the 2012 show. CMAA replied to this by reporting that it had already made contractual commitments with hotels through 2017. These contracts had been made in good faith in accordance with the existing agreement with GCSAA and NGCOA.

If these contracts were broken, it could cost CMAA members more than $300,000 in penalties. Even if CMAA were successful in negotiating a reduction in the penalties, the amount lost would still be an unfair and intolerable burden upon the association, and CMAA could not agree to it. CMAA did offer, however, to consider other venues for future dates that were not yet contractually obligated.

In June, the GCSAA Board of Directors unilaterally decided to cancel its scheduled conference and show in New Orleans in 2012 and move to Las Vegas. GCSAA agreed to absorb its own penalties for breaking the contracts it had for New Orleans, and asked CMAA to do the same. GCSAA made this decision in spite of an explicit agreement with CMAA that it would not do so without first getting the approval of all three presenting partners.

The CMAA Board of Directors was not given a choice. The CMAA Board agreed that the Association would not absorb such a large and unnecessary financial penalty. Accordingly, under the terms of the written agreement with GCSAA, NGCOA and CMAA, CMAA has terminated the partnership effective with the close of the San Diego show on February 11, 2010.

We believe that GCSAA was acting in what it perceived as the best interest of its members. Although we believe that the interests of the members of both associations could have been better accommodated if the GCSAA Board would have agreed to a face to face meeting with the CMAA Officers. The GCSAA Board denied the request for such a meeting.

CMAA remains committed to working with GCSAA and NGCOA for the good of our industry. We will not let this separation adversely impact any other area of possible cooperation.

As for CMAA plans, we remain committed to the 2011 World Conference in Orlando and 2012 in New Orleans and will be working with Marriott Hotel partners to chart our course for the years beyond 2012. Each conference, however, will be accompanied by a CMAA Exposition focused on our members’ and vendors’ specific needs; just as we have always done.

Should you have any remaining questions after reading this e-mail, please don’t hesitate to contact Jim Singerling, CEO, or Kathi Driggs, COO, at the National Headquarters or any member of the CMAA Board of Directors.

Best wishes,

Michael G. Leemhuis, CCM
CMAA President

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