Pandemic postponements lead to virtual golf show replacements

Thousands of Michigan golfers normally march through golf shows this time of year and hundreds renew membership or become members of the Golf Association of Michigan in the process.

The two golf shows – the West Michigan Golf Show and the Michigan Golf Show – where the GAM offers member registration usually with incentives have been postponed this year due to concerns regarding COVID-19.

But online happenings are making it possible for membership renewals or becoming new members in a virtual way.

First, golfers can renew or join the GAM anew at by hitting the “membership” tab.

The West Michigan Golf Show, meanwhile, is launching (Feb. 12, one of the originally scheduled show days) what it is calling a Golfers’ Guide online resource with the courses, resort and retail outlets they would have been able to visit at the show (West Michigan Golf Show (

“We have tens of thousands of golfers come to the show and many come with a specific purpose in mind, to talk to other golfers, book a weekend at a favorite resort, find a new place to play, get pricing, those things, so we are trying to fill some of that void online,” said Carolyn Alt, Showspan’s senior show manager for the West Michigan Golf Show, which for several years has been sponsored in part by the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM).

“We have a comprehensive listing with links of all the golf businesses that have been involved with the show in the last two years, and we are hoping that helps continue those relationships with the golfers. And just for fun, we’ve added online lessons and access to some of the people who would normally be on our stage. The idea is to keep the golf conversation going and keep connected. It’s not about us. It’s about them – the golfers and the golf businesses.”

Alt said every effort was made to present the West Michigan Show.

“We did everything we could and in the end it just can’t happen,” she said. “We wanted to be with the golfers and golf fans as well as the golf businesses and organizations in our state but it wasn’t in the cards. We are going to do all we can to stay connected and that’s the big reason for the Golfers’ Guide.

Alt promises that the West Michigan show will come back bigger, stronger and better.

“We have no intention of changing the way we present the show in a normal situation,” she said. “We’re going to have shows where everyone can be together, have a good time, and engage in a sport they love. From our perspective that is irreplaceable.”

The West Michigan Show usually kicks off the “golf show season” in February, and the Michigan Golf Show in Novi wraps things up in March for Michigan golfers. Several golf shows are also presented across the Midwest during the time frame.

The West Michigan Golf Show will return to DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids Feb. 11-13, 2022. The Michigan Golf Show organizers plan the 2022 show for next March 4-6 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Billed as the largest consumer golf show in the country, the Michigan Golf Show usually features 350 exhibitors including retailers, resorts, travel destinations, Michigan courses and the GAM.

“We have been working on many state-of-the-art and proactive approaches to deal with the COVID-19 virus over the past months, but it has become apparent that we will not be permitted to produce the Michigan Golf Show to a level of attendance and success that we and you expect,” the show organizers said in a recent published statement sent to exhibitors.

“We do not think it would be to our standards of providing you the very best Golf Show of its kind, nor would it provide you the return that you should expect from the expense of doing a show.”

A spokesperson said this week that work has already started on next year’s show.

“For the amount of people we would have been able to let through the show this year it simply wasn’t worth doing – the numbers didn’t work,” she said. “We’ll be back next year though. Our dates are online ( and we are working with exhibitors. We also know that several of our exhibitors are offering their show discounts and things like that through their websites. We would encourage the golf fans to seek those out.”

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