Hitting Into a Net Just Not As Fun


ORLANDO, Fl. -- Golf was intended to be played outdoors, of course, amongst the wildlife and wildflowers. So there's always been something a little strange about trying to test drive a new driver, iron, or a wedge at an indoor hitting net. It's just not right.
So with that in mind, one of the biggest demo days ever was staged at an Orlando course - Orange County National. It was the first to be held in accordance with the PGA Merchandise Show, and was a project of show owner Reed Exhibitions, the PGA of America and the golf course.
PGA Merchandise Show - Demo DayThe massive 360-degree driving range was a perfect fit for such a large gathering of the world's golf equipment retailers. Though a bit out of the way from the convention center where the show is held, the overflow of cars from the parking lot proved that this was one idea that was worth the undertaking.
With some 40 manufacturers set up side-by-side, the thousands in attendance were able to give the products a go, one right after another. And with no hitting nets to hold back the people trying the equipment, the buyers and retailers thoroughly enjoyed watching golfers swing the clubs and hit the balls.
'This is a fantastic idea,' said an obviously delighted retailer from California. 'Getting a chance to see the whole shot is a big plus and great selling point. My customers have always had the same complaint when buying clubs at my store. They just wish they could be outside, and I now understand that a little more.
'The problem I now have is going to be coming up with the money to buy a golf range,' he said with a laugh.
PGA Merchandise Show - Demo DayNoticeably absent from the numerous tents were both Ping and Titleist, who decided to forego this year's show, but might rethink that idea next year after the overwhelming support this demo day brought.
We came here to show our new clubs to as many people as possible, mentioned one of the salesmen at the Spalding tent, and that's exactly what is happening. This outdoor part of the show is a great bonus.'
Though just a fraction of what will be on hand inside the gigantic Orange County Convention Center, this nonetheless was the perfect opportunity to see much of the equipment that is on display at the show.
Many are probably wishing they could stay out on the range for the entire weekend, but it's back to business, and unfortunately, back inside.
Where there aren't any wildlife and wildflowers.