Inside Demo Day Try This On for Size

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 26, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 PGA Merchandise ShowWINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- Rule No. 1: Wear comfortable shoes. Rule No. 2: Obey Rule No. 1.
The PGA Merchandise Show kicked off its five-day extravaganza Wednesday with the Golf Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge.
It marked the third consecutive year that the Demo Day has served as the warm-up act to the Big ' very big ' Show, which officially starts Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center.
Just like the main attraction, the Demo Day is massive in scale.
It took me over a half-hour just walking the grounds, said Ed Several, vice president and general manager of PGA of America WorldWide Golf Exhibitions. And that was without stopping by any of the exhibits.
The scene is set on the 42-acre, circular practice facility at OCN. An estimated 5,000 PGA professionals, retailers and media members were expected to be on hand, with some 80 exhibitors pitching their goods.
Its an example of the evolution of the traditional trade show to being a dynamic event enabling buyers to test products in an actual environment, Several said.
Exhibitors want to better demonstrate the performance of their products. They want people to be able to test these products first-hand.
And that they can very well do.
The thousands on hand can walk up to each and every set-up, grab the latest in technology and bash balls at will. Want to hit the newest irons from Ben Hogan? Go right ahead. Want to hit the new Cleveland Launcher 460 Comp driver that Vijay Singh has been praising? Grip it and rip it.
You can hit the base models or test ones that are custom fit to a particular shaft flex or lie angle.
This is perfect for me, to see what new equipment is out there that correlates with my teaching philosophy. Not only do I get to see what people are selling, I get to test them out, said Matt Joyner, club professional at Mystery Valley Golf Club in Lithonia, Ga.
You can test everything from putters to shafts to grips to tees ' even the latest in sun protection. They have demonstration areas to aid your swing, where you can digitally diagnosis and improve your technique. Teaching professionals are also there to lead seminars.
I think (the Demo Day) is absolutely a necessity in this type of situation, said Bob Arnold, director of marketing for Ben Hogan. You have a lot of people around the world coming in to test all the new toys that golf has to offer.
Its the perfect marketing tool, said Randy Romberg, vice president of marketing communications for Cleveland Golf.
In just three years, the Demo Day has seen its total number of exhibitors double in size, while the list of invited guests has increased by nearly 2,000.
The exchange of business cards and cell-phone numbers is non-stop.
Networking is key,' said Evolve Golf CEO B. J. Maloy.
Evolve Golf promotes a performance-enhancing tee, used by tour players like Steve Flesch and Arron Oberholser.
Maloy said his product, which hit the market in late 2004, is quickly gaining popularity in the professional ranks. But it's an event like the Demo Day that will help it go mainstream.
This is an opportunity for us to interact with PGA professionals, who are ultimately our customers and ambassadors to our customers, Maloy said.
We have to convey the education of our products to our ambassadors. If Mr. Smith comes into the pro shop and asks the head professional about the latest in technology, if (the head pro) has seen our product work, and knows why it works, then hes going to explain that to his customer.
We can tell the public how good this product is, but this allows people to actually see the difference.
As evidenced by companies like Evolve Golf, this day ' and this week ' is as much for mid-market and up-start companies as it is for the more traditional household names.
It works perfectly for us, said Paul Staudzs, sales and marketing manager for Yonex Canada Ltd. Being a smaller company, more people have a chance to hit our products and realize the benefits of our technology.
It will drive people to our booth (at the Merchandise Show), when otherwise they might not have visited. It really helps us get the word out.
Related Links:
  • Video: Adam Barr Reports From Demo Day
  • Full Coverage - 52nd PGA Merchandise Show
  • Getty Images

    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.