Edmonton Golf Show Cancelled; Calgary Show Still Teed Up

By Gord Montgomery, Senior Writer, Inside Golf

CALGARY, Alberta — While this isn’t exactly the storyline of that great Christmas movie The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, it appears that some sort of evil being has stuck a lump of coal in the stockings of golfers in the northern part of Alberta. The Edmonton Golf Show, a product and facility showcase for the game that is presented by the PGA of Alberta, won’t be happening in Edmonton in 2024.

The reason for the cancellation, the second year in a row after the COVID-19 hiatus, is due to not enough vendors willing to spend the time or the money to showcase their facility/product to the general public.

That being said, there will be one such show this year in Calgary. Speaking to the fact the southern event will continue, but the Edmonton show won’t, the PGA of Alberta’s Executive Director Robert Rouselle said their attempts to get the northern event back up and running fell short for the coming season. And, he added, its life is uncertain beyond that point.

“It got cancelled,” he simply said of the 2024 show. “We needed to grow that show and we weren’t getting the support (from vendors). We looked at the experience for the consumer and we weren’t sure we could deliver that,” said Rouselle about the show hitting the skids. “At the end, we just decided to cancel it. We’ll see what the future brings.”

The driving force behind the decision to not stage the event in Edmonton boiled down to a simple factor: “We needed the support from the north (courses, resorts, gear providers) and we just weren’t getting it.”

As is well known, golf over the past few years has boomed and this is part of the reason for the pullback by the exhibitors, Rouselle agreed.

“Two hundred percent. I know golf courses are extremely busy so a lot of them maybe don’t have as much to sell as normal. But it (Edmonton) has been a show that honestly is about half the size of the one in Calgary. We always tried to shoot high and bring both big shows. They are both great venues and both big cities, but we never really got the traction we required to (stage) a profitable show (in Edmonton).”

Young Golfers Won’t Be Able To Choose Their Preferred Brand Of Ball To Use On The Indoor Rangel At The Edmonton Golf Show This Year, But They Can Still Swing Away At The Calgary Show. (Photo By Gord Montgomery/Inside Golf)

The COVID-19 wave spurred people to take up or resume playing golf. What that meant was people paying full price for green fees and memberships, something no course is going to turn its back on. “The demand to sell lower-cost green fees, etcetera, is not there,” where reduced fees were often a selling point for facilities at these golf shows. “Tee sheets are pretty full so maybe it’s a mixture of all that, that didn’t create the interest to support the show at this time. It doesn’t mean in the future we won’t ever do it again but there’s not an appetite to put on a strong show,” Rouselle further explained.

On the positive side, you still have the Calgary show that continues to flourish. That show has been sold out constantly in the past and it is tracking down the same fairway for the 2024 show.

“I don’t think the concern is the same here. We’ve always treated the shows independently. They are very different so at this time, we don’t have any concerns.”

Asked about the difference between the shows, where one is a no-go and the other is full steam ahead, Rouselle noted that Calgary’s proximity to southern B.C. and the U.S.’s northern courses is a huge driving point for its success. Those courses rarely attended the Edmonton show, leading in part to the cancellation in 2024.

“Maybe that’s the difference. I can’t put my finger right on that but it has stronger support in Calgary. I don’t know if there are more smaller companies related to golf in Calgary than Edmonton …. I’m not sure of the whole equation.”

The Calgary show will take place on March 16-17, 2024, at the BMO Centre.