Let the Show Begin

Pueblo native Kevin Morton eagerly awaits his first Colorado Golf Expo as the show’s owner and operator; new for this year is a 9-hole miniature golf course

By Gary Baines – 2/13/2023

Kevin Morton can be forgiven for momentarily losing track of the date.

Morton, a Pueblo native, closed on the purchase of the Colorado Golf Expo at the end of November, and things have been pretty hectic ever since. Getting up to speed on all the details involved with running the Expo is no simple task, especially when you have just 2 1/2 months between when you take over and when the doors are thrown open for the event.

So when the matter of the days dwindling leading up to the show came up in a phone conversation last week, Morton noted, “I keep looking at my calendar (thinking) ‘Whoa, where did that (time) go?”

After more than 22 years of the Colorado Golf Expo — or its predecessor, the Denver Golf Expo — being owned and operated by Mark and Lynn Cramer, this weekend’s show will be first with Morton and his Tee Box Events company at the helm.

The 2023 show will be based at the Colorado Convention Center, Hall F, for the second straight year. The Expo runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Golf Expo moved to the Colorado Convention Center last year.

The Expo’s history dates back to the first half of the 1990s when it was co-founded by Colorado PGA professionals Stan Fenn and Danny Harvanek.

“I am super excited,” Morton said of the prospects for this year’s edition. “I’ve been on the phone quite a bit with the Cramers. We’ve been talking about how everything is going. And quite frankly, we’re pretty excited. It’s looking to be a very good show. We’re happy with the exhibitors. We’re happy with the number of giveaways we’re going to have as door prizes. … I think it’s going to be fun.”

Many things about the show will carry over — its focus on being an early-year opportunity 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 also will be a chance to register for an opportunity to win the grand prize of a stay-and-play for four at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash., a course which hosted the 2015 U.S. Open.

But there are also a couple of new things being added to the mix: a nine-hole miniature golf course (available for an additional fee of $10 for adults and $5 for kids); and additional food options, with a burger grill supplementing the pizza place that was also on site last year.

Most of the mainstays from recent years will be back: Lenny’s Golf Shop and club demo, which combined takes up a large portion of the floorpan; Junior Golf Central, which caters to kids and information about golf opportunities for the younger set; long-putting and chipping challenges; pitching lessons — as well as the aforementioned areas devoted to free instruction provided by CPGA pros and to seminars.

Kevin Morton, the new owner and operator of the Colorado Golf Expo.

The seminar schedule — led by CPGA members or CGA staffers — includes the following sessions: 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. For details, including the timing for each, CLICK HERE.

Morton said close to 90 exhibitors will be on hand. Among them — besides the aforementioned — are the CGA and the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary and is in the midst of building its new golf museum at The Broadmoor.

For a list of the 2023 Expo exhibitors, CLICK HERE.

For the last decade — aside from 2021 when there was not an in-person show due to Covid-19 safety concerns — the Golf Expo has averaged between 7,195 and 9,937 attendees for the three days. Last year checked in at 7,928. The best ever for the show was 11,202 in 2008.

“I would love to continue the trend the Cramers did last year,” Morton said. “They were just under 8,000 last year so if we can hit that number or maybe a little bit higher, I’d be very happy. Coming into a new show — especially since I came in in November — there’s not a lot that can be done to increase that number. But we’re looking at some great weather coming up so we’re happy there.”

Looking both at this year and longer term, Morton said a point of emphasis will be attracting more younger people to the Expo.

“We really increased our social-media presence exponentially,” he said. “We’re trying to get younger people involved. Hopefully that will help as well.

“Part of what we want to do is continue to add things that people want. The one thing we did add this year was the miniature golf course. We created a nine-hole mini golf course that’s called the ‘Back Nine Mini Golf’. It’ll be a fun way of getting younger people involved. Those are the kind of things we want to add over the next few years — different things people are asking for.”

Admission prices for this weekend’s show are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (50+) and military with a valid I.D., $5 for kids 6-16, and free for those 5 and under.

For more information about the Expo, CLICK HERE.