Lakeland Golf Fest Demo Day Saturday Febuary 1st at YMCA Par 3

Demo days are proving quite popular among golfers in the Lakeland area.

There were close to 500 golfers at the Golf Etc. demo day at the YMCA Par 3 last winter.

And more than 200 people attended the Golf Etc. demo day at Bramble Ridge on Dec. 14.

Golf Etc. and The First Tee of Lakeland are joining forces for the fourth straight year to put on Lakeland Golf Fest on Saturday at the YMCA Par 3 driving range.

The event is growing, with contests, activities for kids and fresh barbecue.

"We're just trying to add some things and make it a little more festive,'' said Gerald Richardson, director of golf at the YMCA Par 3.

In addition to testing new clubs, golfers can take part in putting and closest-to-the-pin contests. There will also be a massage therapist and a chiropractor on hand.

"We're trying to make it more of an event rather than a standard demo day,'' said Golf Etc. owner Luke Miller. "We're trying to do something a little different.''

Following the launch of new golf clubs at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando last week, golfers are anxious to try out clubs they're shopping for.

"There's a lot of new product coming out,'' said Miller, who attended the PGA trade show at the Orange County Convention Center.

Vendors from Titleist, Cleveland, Nike, Callaway, Mizuno, Ping, TaylorMade, Adams and U.S. Kids Golf will be on hand to help you test their latest-model clubs, especially new drivers and irons for 2014.

"A lot of the stuff isn't even in pro shops and golf stores yet,'' Richardson said.

Miller said Callaway is relaunching Big Bertha drivers. Ping, Cobra and Adams have new drivers.

There will be discounts available on all clubs purchased from Golf Etc.

For kids, there will be a SNAG game and a portable putting green on the range.

SNAG (Starting New at Golf) involves hitting tennis balls with hard-plastic golf clubs to a Velcro target.

"It's what we use for a lot of our introductory courses,'' Richardson said.

Smoking Butts barbecue from Lakeland, which was at Pigfest last weekend, will be selling pork sandwiches, hot dogs, drinks and chips.

"We're going to keep building on it every year,'' Miller said.

Admission is a $5 donation that goes toward The First Tee of Lakeland. Kids under 18 get in free.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For information, call the YMCA Par 3 at 863-577-0236 or Golf Etc. at 863-687-7274.