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February 15, 2019

HERE IT COMES: GOLFEST CELEBRATION THIS WEEKEND

by Mike Henry
Golfers of all ages get to embrace the start of a new season this weekend, with numerous chances to win prizes, including Valspar Championship tickets and $500 for a hole-in-one; Golfest Stage entertainment promises to delight; kids 14-and-under get in free; check out great stuff at silent auction.

“Smash It, Pitch It & Sink It,” a free, fun competition testing a golfer’s overall ability, is among the new activities for players of all ages during Saturday and Sunday's ninth annual Golfest at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

Known as the Tampa Bay area’s largest golf demo days gathering, Golfest will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10, which includes a coupon for a complimentary small bucket of range balls.

Children 14-and-under are admitted free and there is free parking all weekend, as well as shuttle service between the golf facility and the Tampa Bay Downs racetrack.

smash it

Golfers can sample and purchase new equipment and get fitted for clubs from a variety of major manufacturers. Trick-shot artists and golf entertainers will perform both days on the Golfest Stage, and there will be a $500 hole-in-one contest, a silent auction and golf lifestyle booths.

Each person who attends Golfest receives a goody bag stuffed with a 10-percent-off coupon to purchase merchandise at the event, various other discounts and bargain rates at area courses, a value estimated at more than $75.

“Spring is right around the corner and people are thinking about returning to their favorite courses after a relatively cool and rainy winter,” said Jon Johnson, Manager of The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

“This is the golf community’s best opportunity to try numerous companies’ offerings and compare. Whether you are in the market for new equipment, trying to shave a few strokes from your score or just looking for a good time, Golfest is a great place to spend part of the weekend,” Johnson added.

There is no charge to enter “Smash It, Pitch It & Sink It,” which features competition for boys, girls, men and women in 12 divisions. Prizes will be awarded to the top three scorers in each division, with each of the six adult winners receiving two tickets to the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor the week of March 21-24.

Competition in “Smash It, Pitch It & Sink It” will be conducted in three age groups for men and women – 18-39, 40-59 and 60-and-up – and three divisions for boys and girls – elementary, middle and high school students. Everyone receives four drives, four chips and four putts, with points awarded for distance and accuracy.

State-of-the-art equipment is a staple at Golfest, and several companies are joining the lineup for the first time. Representatives will be on hand to assist customers with sampling their products and on-site club-fitting.

Companies expected to participate include Callaway, Mizuno, Wilson, Cobra, Ping, Naples Bay, Tour Edge, Cleveland, Srixon, XXIO, Bushnell/Bolle, Orange Whip, Zero Friction and Dialed in Golf Solutions.

“This is the year of the driver in golf,” Johnson said. “Everyone is coming out with great new technology, and you can test it to see what best fits your swing.”

Another company, Golf Club Dealz of Tampa, will accept trade-ins on clubs, putting the value of old models toward a new purchase.

The entertainment lineup on the Golfest Stage begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with trick-shot artist Trevor “Macho Man” Consavage, followed at noon by entertainer/trick-shot artist Brad Denton. Ian Peterson of Dialed in Golf Solutions is scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m., followed by Canadian golf entertainer Kelly Murray.

Consavage is slated to appear at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, followed by Denton at noon and Daniel Shipman of Full Torque Fitness at 1:30 p.m.

This year’s Hole-In-One Contest gives each entrant two attempts to hole a 60-yard shot. The $500 first prize will be distributed among everyone who makes a hole-in-one.

Visitors can also check out the silent auction being conducted by the Sickles High School golf teams, which features sports memorabilia, gift baskets, rounds of golf and other items.

About 16 golf lifestyle and vendor booths will be set up both days.

Tickets to Golfest are available at The Downs Golf Practice Facility, located just south of the racetrack. Anyone pre-purchasing a ticket for Golfest will receive an additional coupon for a small bucket of range balls. Tickets are also redeemable for a $40 discount on the 2019 Paradise Golf Summer Card and a $50 range-ball credit at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

For additional details, call (813) 854-4946.