Two World Golf Hall of Fame inductees, an Emmy Award winning TV sportscaster, a wide variety of golf products, informative educational sessions and over three dozen media members highlighted a successful 29th Annual ING Spring Conference in Sebring, FL, conducted in late May.
The non-profit International Network of Golf conducts this annual one-of-a-kind gathering of media and golf industry executives. SEVEN Sebring Raceway Hotel, which overlooks the famous hairpin turn on Sebring International Raceway, played host to the conference.
Jan Stephenson and Dennis Walters, two ING members who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in June, attended the Tuesday Night Banquet for a pair of award ceremonies. Stephenson received the inaugural ING Jan Stephenson Entrepreneur Award for her varied successes in the business side of golf following a glowing career on the LPGA Tour. Walters presented the ING Dennis Walters Courage Award to Tom Mirus, a rules official for the U.S. Blind Golfers Association.
Former CBS, ESPN and Golf Channel Sportscaster Jim Kelly did a superb job as EMCEE of the conference, keeping attendees entertained and informed throughout the four days.
The conference got off on the right foot with an opening night reception at Rafter T Ranch, showing the natural, laid-back beauty of the Sebring, Florida region.
The very popular One-On-One Appointment Show covered two days, during which exhibitors interacted with media outlets and other business attendees in a series of 15-minute private meetings.
Several products were featured during the Demo Lab, including a product launch from New Ground Golf, which features 1, 2, and 3 irons that are designed to be easy to hit, and to replace hybrids for folks who enjoy hitting irons. Attendees voted NGN as the winner of the “ING Conference Favorite Product.”
Three ING University sessions included: Entrepreneurs Panel with Frank Carroll of Greenkeepers Golf, Bob Koch of Medicus, Dave Hamilton of The Putting Arc and moderator Holly Geoghegan of The Golf Insiders radio show; Generational Marketing with Jacob Pewitt Yancey of Visit Florida; Social Media Marketing with Bill Replogle of Golfoholics.
Three golf tournaments were conducted. The US Golf Challenge National Qualifier at Highlands Ridge North was won by John Duval & Brian Stefan, earning them a spot in the USGC National Championship in Myrtle Beach in April. Stefan was also on the Durland Cup Scramble winning team on the Deer Run Course at Sun ‘N Lake along with Mike Kern, Greg Wise and Steve Ryan. And Kern joined Claire Hodges, Phyllis Poston and Ron Garl in capturing the Monday Scramble.
The hospitality shown by all hosts in the Sebring area was amazing. The staffs at SEVEN Sebring Raceway Hotel and both golf courses were very organized and accommodating. Thanks to all involved, including Casey Wohl Hartt and the official host, Visit Sebring.
Rachel Riley, Director of Communications for the Valley Forge Convention & Tourism Board, announced on Tuesday that the Valley Forget Casino Resort would be the official host of the 30th Anniversary ING Spring Conference May 31-June 3, 2020.