World Record Attempt, Celebrities Highlight 8th Outdoor Demo Day

2010 PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO - An ambitious attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most golf balls hit by an individual in a 12-hour span, a series of trick-shot and teaching exhibitions by an array of renowned PGA and touring professionals, and a unique opportunity to test drive the latest equipment for 2010 highlighted the Eighth Annual Outdoor Demo Day to officially tee off PGA Merchandise Show Week Wednesday at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge.

Celebrities such as former PGA champion David Toms, former British Open winner Justin Leonard, LPGA star Suzann Pettersen, Champions Tour long driver Terry Dill, PGA Teaching Professional Rick Smith and trick-shot artists Nico Bollini and Peter Johncke lent their expertise to the 2010 Outdoor Demo Day, as more than 90 leading golf vendors gave PGA Professionals and industry leaders an opportunity to test the newest equipment innovations on 100-plus hitting bays at the 42-acre Orange County National practice facility.

Hoping to hit some 10,000 golf balls in a 12-hour period while utilizing a Piranha Golf hybrid club and Egan’s Golf Center training system that delivers a ball to a tee automatically every 1.5 seconds, Nigel Mangan of Piranha Golf easily eclipsed the previous world record of 7,350 balls hit by a single person in a 12-hour period. Mangan started firing practice balls at 6 a.m. and took only a few short breaks until 6 p.m. on his way to hitting 7,721 balls. The Guinness World Record attempt was made in a benefit for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides scholarships to families of American soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It sounds fairly simple, but you wouldn’t believe how tired you get trying something this. He’s going to smash the record if he keeps up this pace and avoids fatigue," noted Piranha Golf President Steve Collins, when Mangan had already hit more than 5,000 balls at noon. "This is a tremendous way to support the Folds of Honor Foundation, and have a bit of fun doing it. It is a wonderful charity."

Outdoor Demo Day

Presented by PGA Golf Exhibitions and PGA Magazine and sponsored by Aldila, the Outdoor Demo Day saw market leaders such as Callaway Golf, Titleist, Cobra, Ping, Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Nike Golf, Bridgestone, Mizuno, Adams Golf, Wilson Golf and many more launch new products while educating attendees on performance characteristics.

"It’s beautiful weather and this is a great opportunity to put clubs in your hands, hit them, and see the ball-flight characteristics. In Michigan, when the reps come by, we often aren’t able to hit the clubs, so we’re hitting them for the first time today," said Robert Pales, PGA Professional and owner of Sauganash Golf Club in Three Rivers, Mich.

Outdoor Demo Day

"The beauty of this Demo Day is it’s the largest you’ll find anywhere, and you can compare products of all types," noted Fred Auletta, PGA Professional at Dorset Field Club in Dorset, Vt., who was taking advantage of various manufacturers’ ball and clubfitting programs at the Outdoor Demo Day. "If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you won’t find it anywhere."
 
PGA Professionals, buyers and golf-shop leaders lined up to take advantage of ball- and club-fitting bays at Callaway, Bridgestone, Titleist, Cobra, Ping, Wilson, Nike and many other hitting areas.

"Everyone talks about technology, but new technology without performance makes no sense, so we are using this Demo Day as an opportunity to let PGA Professionals and everyone else see the performance characteristics of our new equipment, such as the G15 line," observed Pete Samuels, director of marketing and public relations for Ping. "We’re also demonstrating that fitting mans business. When you fit a golfer with precisely the equipment that fits his or her game, they become loyal to that PGA Professional who fit them and it drives business to the person who fit them."

The practice greens at Orange County National were packed with Demo Day attendees testing and evaluating the latest putters, wedges and sand wedges. Cleveland Golf unveiled its Cleveland Golf Scoring Clinics, focusing on iproving your game from 120 yards in, which were aided by the appearance at the Cleveland hitting bays by Toms, who won the 2001 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

SeeMore Putter Company Owner Jim Grundberg was among the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show exhibitors showing off several new putters at the Outdoor Demo Day, and he liked the large crowds at Wednesday’s test-and-evaluate exercise at Orange County National.

"Our putters are a classic word-of-mouth product, so this Demo Day is a wonderful opportunity for industry professionals to try our newest putters and tell their peers about them," said Grundberg. "People see our putters with the classic alignment aids, they tell 10 friends, they ask their PGA Professional about it, and pretty soon it’s something everyone wants to see it and feel it. We have expanded our putter lines so we have just the right look and feel for everyone. That’s what makes this business exciting – when people hear about a Zach Johnson winning with it on tour and they want to see it and try it for themselves."

Sunice and Page & Tuttle served as Demo Day outerwear sponsors, Pukka Headwear as the headwear sponsor, Pride Sports as the tee sponsor and Lamkin Corp. as the grip sponsor.  

 

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