New Products, Workshops, Special Events Highlight PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day

The 2023 PGA Show officially began Tuesday with more than 70 leading companies showcasing their latest products, while PGA Professionals and industry leaders tested the latest equipment, enjoyed coaching workshops and clubfitting presentations, and connected with colleagues during the 20th PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day.

Picture-perfect weather greeted thousands of attendees, including numerous celebrities, at the 42-acre Orange County National Golf Center, which was transformed into the largest outdoor testing and education center for a day dedicated to clubfitting and product evaluation.

Golf’s leading equipment and technology brands — including Bridgestone Golf, Callaway Golf, Cobra Golf, FlightScope, Full Swing Golf, Mizuno, Ping, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, Toptracer, Titleist and XXIO — were among the companies offering education, demonstrations and testing of their latest innovations while hosting a strong lineup of special events. The daylong event concluded with a PGA Professional Appreciation Happy Hour to place an exclamation point on a highly productive eight hours.

“Demo & Fitting Day really gets us energized for the new golf season,” noted Tom Denklau, PGA General Manager at Coyote Run Golf Course in Flossmoor, Illinois. “The weather is great and it’s a great opportunity to test all the latest equipment in one place.”

Added Chris Voshall, Product Marketing Manager for Mizuno USA, which was showing off its new line of woods and golf balls in addition to the new 923 irons: “This is the best opportunity for us to connect with PGA Professionals and demonstrate that we are more than just an iron company.

“We have always made tremendous quality irons, but we’re excited to let PGA Professionals and industry influencers try our new drivers, fairways and hybrids. Once they hit them, they see the quality for themselves.”

Kevin Weeks, PGA Director on Instruction at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Illinois and the 2023 PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year, conducted a special putter and wedge fitting seminar to tee off a busy schedule of events on the Fitting & Performance stage.

PGA of America coaching and fitting workshops included, “The Importance of Relationships for Student Retention,” by Warren Bottke, PGA Master Professional; “Common Short Game Faults for Common Players with Common Solutions,” by Todd Sones, PGA; “It’s Time for ‘YIPS’” — Your Improved Putting Stroke,” by Joe Hallett, PGA; and “Expand Your Teaching Business & Give Yourself a Raise,” by Gene Powell, PGA.

Short-game guru Brad Faxon, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR and a new member of the NBC Sports golf team, joined Titleist Director of Marketing Corey Gerrard to host a Vokey Design Wedge Clinic introducing the new T Grind series of Titleist Vokey wedges.

World Long Drive Champions Martin Borgmeier and Justin James faced off in a long-drive competition sponsored by JumboMax grips.

“This is my first Demo & Fitting Day in 15 years, but it’s just as good as a I remember it. It’s fabulous,” said Chris Bigford, PGA Head Professional at Tullymore Golf Resort in Stanwood, Michigan. “We tested clubs from several manufacturers and attended a very informative coaching presentation.

“This is the part of the PGA Show I love because you get to be outdoors in the fresh air and hit balls, all in the name of work.”

New innovations at the PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day included a heavy-duty range picking robot by Canada-based Korechi Innovations Inc., a new ball fitting system introduced by Bridgestone Golf, a new line of laser and GPS-based rangefinders by Bushnell, and a sleek, new launch monitor presented by FlightScope.

Cobra Puma Golf welcomed a series of golf celebrities to its large demonstration area surrounding Tee #8 at Orange County National. Blair O’Neal, the former LPGA Tour player, model and co-host of Golf Channel’s School of Golf, Best Lessons Ever and Como Concepts, and 11-time LPGA Tour winner Lexi Thompson spent the afternoon signing autographs, staging clinics and answering questions. Two-time World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire joined Thompson and O’Neal at a Q&A session at the Cobra Puma compound.

The PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day, produced in partnership between the PGA Show and PGA Magazine, also featured presenting sponsors Clubhouse Events, FlagD, Wittek Golf Supply and registration giveaways by CapTech Ventures and FlightScope.

The Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) also provided enhanced programming and GRAA award-winners answered range-related questions throughout the day on topics such as coaching, practice, player development, fitting/demos, operations and engagement.