John Steinbreder: Folks down here in Winter Garden, Fla., say the 42-acre practice facility at the Orange County National Golf Center is the largest in the U.S. But for one day a year, it becomes home to the biggest golf equipment market in the country, when the PGA Merchandise Show holds its annual Demo Day there.
The 2013 edition was a bustling affair with more than 100 golf companies represented. DJs spun albums, filling the air with music of all sorts, as top teaching professionals Michael Breed, Hank Haney and Mike Malaska conducted instructional workshops. Touring professionals like Lexi Thompson and Jesper Parnevik held court on hitting tees as they demonstrated the performance attributes of the newest metals and irons, while PGA club professionals strolled from booth to booth, checking out golf gear and re-connecting with old friends.
Some club makers offered shots of vodka and organized games of beer pong, while others conducted club fittings and explained the latest technological advances. It was part Turkish bazaar, part music festival and part golf outing.
And it once again kicked off Show week in very strong and fun fashion.