By Roger Graves, PGA Show Media Centre
More than 4,000 PGA professionals, retail shop buyers and media got a good grip on the latest innovations in equipment and accessories while teeing off PGA Merchandise Show & Convention Week on Wednesday during the fourth annual PGA Show Demo Day presented by Sprint at the 42-acre practice facility of Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla.
Demo Day, sponsored by Aldila and Yamaha, marked the golf-industry debut of numerous products as more than 80 companies used 120 hitting bays, three putting greens, and a large short-game area to officially launch their 2006 lines. Presented by Sprint, PGA Magazine and PGA Golf Exhibitions, Demo Day also provided attendees with a golden opportunity to “try before you buy” everything from drivers, fairway woods, irons, putters and wedges to eyewear, footwear, sunscreen, specialty shafts, push carts, bags, training aids, rangefinders and golf fitness programs.
The 2006 Demo Day presented by Sprint also included a series of special events in the demonstration area, headlined by four Play Golf America “lesson tee” exhibitions that showed PGA Professionals and facility owners/ managers how to grow rounds, teach lessons and enhance revenues. A special presentation by Callaway Golf also highlighted a day dedicated to product testing.
“Demo Day at the PGA Merchandise Show is like a kid in a candy store,” said Jeff Estes, PGA head professional at Valencia Golf Club in Naples, Fla. “The bottom line is business, but a Demo Day of this stature puts the fun back in the golf business.”
In four years, Demo Day has become one of the most popular events associated with the Show for two simple reasons. First, it allows PGA Professionals and key buyers a unique opportunity to test and evaluate equipment, ball flight, how clubs feel at impact and other performance characteristics. Second, it gives major manufacturers an opportunity to tell golf professionals and facility managers all about their products – detailing features and price points – in a golf atmosphere.
“When golf professionals see ball flight and shot characteristics, it makes product buying decisions easier,” said Brett Porath, senior manager of custom fitting for Callaway Golf. “A Demo Day of this magnitude is most effective for the PGA professional or buyer because they can compare equipment.”
Demo Day also enables PGA professionals and retail buyers from smaller markets a chance to test equipment and accessories that they normally don‘t see during the year. Similarly, a Demo Day of such large scope allows companies to reach thousands of retail buyers in a single setting. Many PGA Professionals and buyers test-drive equipment at Demo Day, for example, and then visit that company’s booth at the PGA Merchandise Show to place an order.
“Demo Day provides us with an opportunity to reach a maximum number of quality buyers in a single day,” said Bruce Riccio, vice president of golf sales for Mizuno. “This is the most important Demo Day of the year for us. There is no substitute for putting a golf club in a professional’s hand and letting them judge the quality of your product.”
PGA Merchandise Show www.pgamerchandiseshow.com