The MN Golf Show: the Middle-aged Super Bowl

Michael Geiger

Every year in February, the Minnesota Golf Show takes place at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Sprawled over 100,000 square feet, the show offers everything a golfer would ever need… and more. As a die-hard golfer who had never attended the event before, I felt I had a responsibility to give the show a try. My brother Henry tagged along, and the two of us spent a good chunk of our Saturday taking in all that the show had to offer. 

Hanks and I began our day by doing a lap around the premises, and admittedly it took a few minutes for us to get our bearings. The sheer amount of booths, exhibits, and fifty-year-old white men in quarter-zip pullovers was more than enough to put us back on our heels. However, we quickly regrouped and went straight into the belly of the beast. 

Our first stop was the club-testing area: twenty indoor hitting mats featuring the latest and greatest golf clubs. The two of us took turns sampling whatever clubs caught our eye until we were ejected by an equipment rep for holding up the line. Clearly, our lack of experience was coming into play, but we took our lumps and moved on. Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” Amen, sister.

Next up was mini-golf. Relatively speaking, the nine-hole course that was set up was pretty decent. Other than the sixth hole, which required Tiger Woods circa 2000-level putting skills to navigate, we enjoyed ourselves. 

The only other issues we had with our mini-golf experience concerned the serious pace-of-play problems on hole five: a four-year-old girl and her father refused to keep up with the group ahead of them and our round ground to a halt. Yes, they were making happy memories that will stay with them for a lifetime, but the disrespect was still hard to swallow.

Next, we explored the large number of booths that took up the majority of the show’s square footage. This space is located right in the heart of the show floor and is truly where the sausage was made. Public courses, fledgling companies, and resorts all plead their case to often skeptical customers through giveaways, raffles, pamphlets, and brochures. 

After a couple loops around all the various exhibits, I was both enthralled and consumed by a desire to take a shower. Experiencing nonstop golf-related stimulation is fun for a bit, but you can only make so much awkward eye contact with reps for golf courses you’ll never play before you need to GTFO.

The two of us made our final stop at the merchandise area (following another run-in with the equipment rep), and after seeing the modest prices we picked up a few hats along with some other miscellaneous golfing knick-knacks. 

Once we left, we both agreed that the golf show was essentially an Adam Sandler movie: if you’re flipping channels and nothing else is on (if you’re in the area), give it a shot. However, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way unless you want to witness the Middle-aged Super Bowl up close and personal.