Solid Showing

Attendance at Colorado Golf Expo the highest since 2019; this month’s show was the first under new owner Kevin Morton

By Gary Baines – 2/20/2023

Kevin Morton’s first year as owner and operator of the Colorado Golf Expo trended in the right direction in several respects. 

The Pueblo native bought the Expo from Mark and Lynn Cramer in late November after the Cramers had owned the show since 2000. And this past weekend, with the Expo at the Colorado Convention Center for the second straight year, it drew its highest attendance figures of the decade of the 2020s. 

Morton reported Monday that the CGE attracted 8,535 attendees over the three days (Friday through Sunday). That’s up 7.7 percent from last year and is the largest attendance for the show since 2019, when the Expo drew 9,937.

“I am very happy with how the Expo turned out this year,” Morton wrote in an email on Monday. “I have an outstanding team which was able to adapt and be flexible during the short timeline from the time I purchased the show to the actual show date. It makes me happy to see that so many people attend the show and so many exhibitors say they were happy with the turnout.”

Attendance for the Expo over the last 15 years has ranged from a low of 7,195 (2015) to a high of 11,202 (2008). Prior to 2022, the show was known as the Denver Golf Expo.

“There were several exhibitors that mentioned that on Saturday they would normally have a few breaks during the day when show traffic slows down, but this year the traffic seemed heavy all day,” Morton said. “We had quite a few exhibitors already request that they get the same booth locations (for next year) since they had success where they had a booth.

And “there were some parents I talked to who were sitting near the Back Nine mini-golf area and they loved how they could sit and relax while their kids played mini golf for while.”

Among those who attended the show on Saturday was Colorado Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera. 

In the case of the Golf Expo, much depends on the weather, and this one was positive in terms of temperature, good road conditions to get to and from the show, but not so warm that many golfers were hitting the courses themselves — instead of going to the show.

The free 10-minute lessons from Colorado PGA professionals were popular, as usual.

The Expo was its normal mix of opportunities to get deals on merchandise, equipment, services and rounds of golf; a place to try out clubs, get free 10-minute lessons from Colorado PGA professionals, and attend educational seminars led by experts in the golf industry; and a chance to learn more about what’s going on in Colorado golf. 

There was Junior Golf Central for kids to get in the swing of things and receive more information on playing and learning opportunities; a nine-hole miniature golf course (a new feature at the Expo); long-putting and chipping areas; Lenny’s Golf Shop and club demo, etc., etc.

In all, there were about 90 exhibitors at this year’s show, including the CGA, Colorado PGA and the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023.

The Expo’s seminar schedule — led by CPGA members or CGA staffers — included sessions on Distance Matters, Strategy and What to Practice, the Rules of Golf, Handicap Index 101, Colorado PGA Amateur Tour and Programming, Colorado PGA Junior Cup Series and Junior Players Series, and Leadership Lessons from Golf. 

Looking to the future, Morton has a few ideas after experiencing the show as an owner/operator for the first time.

The CGA booth front and center near the entrance to the Expo.

“We need more interactive events,” he wrote in his email. “I would also like to bring in nationally recognized people for seminars, Q and A’s, and autograph sessions. The show as it stands is very good, but with more exhibitors and more entertainment, we can increase the value to those who attend.”

The Colorado Golf Expo/Denver Golf Expo dates back to the first half of the 1990s when it was co-founded by Colorado PGA professionals Stan Fenn and Danny Harvanek. Fenn sold the show to the Cramers in 2000.

The booth of the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, was manned on Friday by vice president Mark Passey (left) and executive director Jon Rizzi.

Lenny’s Golf Shop, a large fixture at the Expo, was a popular attraction.

About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates