Outdoor Demo Day focuses on testing, teaching

Demo Day gave lucky golfers the chance to try out many of golf's hottest new products.

Outdoor Demo Day focuses on testing, teaching

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day included a new twist Wednesday at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. As per tradition, the 11th Demo Day provided PGA Professionals, golf retailers and industry leaders with a golden opportunity to test and evaluate the latest innovations from 100-plus golf equipment, accessory and training aid manufacturers on a sunny, comfortable day.

But the 2013 edition of golf's largest outdoor equipment testing event also featured a strong instruction and education component. Three of the game's most respected instructors — PGA of America Teachers of the Year Michael Breed (2012), Mike Malaska (2011) and Hank Haney (1993) – conducted a pair of high-level instructional workshops as part of the newly revamped PGA Education Conference at the PGA Merchandise Show.

The combination of equipment testing and the two three-hour instructional workshops seemed to be a hit with the thousands of Show attendees who spent the day at the 42-acre Orange County National practice facility.

"This Demo Day is incredible when you partner the testing opportunities with the in-depth teaching clinics," said Richard Lynch, PGA Professional at Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge, Mass. "This is my first Demo Day, and the setup is unbelievable."

With virtually every major brand launching new equipment, performance wear or golf accessories, the 200-plus hitting bays, practice greens and the New Product Preview area at Orange County National were abuzz with business, as Demo Day set the table for the 60th PGA Merchandise Show today through Saturday.

"Pukka was very impressed with the number of attendees and their interest in our products at Demo Day," said James Thompson, the company's director of marketing. "There were a lot of attendees, but the crowds were better managed with the dual entrance areas."

Richard Miller, PGA director of golf at The Hills Country Club in Cedar Park, Texas, said he uses Demo Day as an information-gathering situation.

"This is not only a great opportunity to see what's new, but really the only opportunity of its kind to gain knowledge about so much equipment in a single setting," said Miller.

The PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day is organized by PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions and PGA Magazine and sponsored by United Rentals, True Temper and Yamaha. Pukka Headwear served as the hat sponsor, Sunice the outerwear sponsor, and Champ the tee sponsor. 5-hour Energy was the registration sponsor, Bushnell Golf the water bottle sponsor, FlightScope the bag sponsor and Lamkin the grip sponsor.