TAMPA – For three years, The Downs Golf Facility has been one of the top golf demo shops in Florida, which is saying a lot.
This year, Jon Johnson and The Downs are trying to top even themselves. The Downs will host its fourth annual Golfest on Feb. 8-9. There will be representatives of most of the world’s top equipment manufacturers, events for kids and adults, guest speakers throughout both days, a chance to test out every type of 2014 model golf club, and more.
For the first time, The Downs will host a “Big Break” type of an event featuring local celebrities. Golf fans know that “Big Break” is must-see TV. It is a show that features everything from skill competitions to playing for a shot at a professional Tour card. Challenges at Golfest will include “glass break,” where golfers simply try to shatter a plate of glass from 15 to 20 yards; “The Wall,” as golfers try to get closest to the pin by hitting a lob shot over a large wall; a putting contest; closest to the pin; and a long drive championship.
Local celebrities include current and former Tampa Bay Rays David Price and Andy Sonnanstine; former Tampa Bay Lightning Daren Puppa and Pat Jablonski; Whit Watson and Win McMurry from the Golf Channel; and heavy metal rockers Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Shawn Drover (Megadeath). Other local celebrities will also participate.
“Our Golfest event has become established as one of the most popular demo days and expo gatherings anywhere in Florida,” Johnson said. “We look forward to welcoming many familiar faces who have attended the first three Golfest events.”
The main sponsor is the Valspar Championship, which will be held at Innisbrook in March.
The Kids Zone is also a big attraction every year. Children can try out the mini golf area with putt-putt golf, lessons and a free bucket of balls.
Johnson said that, as successful as the past three years have been, they are upping the ante this year.
“Every year we get bigger and bigger,” Johnson said. “We’re still looking for sponsors but this is a big thing for us and for the Tampa Bay golf scene. We expect our biggest crowd yet.”
The main event is Sunday, when Golfest will host a $1 million hole-in-one contest. Anyone can enter. A $10 entry fee allows anyone to hit five shots from a distance of 167 yards. Anyone landing one of their shots within a 20-foot diameter circle advances to the semifinals. Anyone making a hole-in-one in qualifying receives $250 in range balls.
The golfer who finishes closest to the hole in the semis moves onto the finals with one shot to win the prize.
“We’d like to think we are the best in the business at this type event,” Johnson said. “Anybody who loves golf needs to come by.”
Golfest will be held at The Downs on 10327 Race Track Road on Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For information on sponsorship or purchasing a booth, call (813) 854-4946.
The Eagles Golf Club will host its annual Super Bowl and Golf Party on Feb. 2 with a 2:30 p.m. shotgun start. There is a four person scramble with optional skins, followed by awards and food. Players can then watch the game in the clubhouse. Rate is $30 per member and $40 for the public. Singles are welcome. Call (813) 920-6681 … Fox Hollow Golf Club will host its Sixth Annual Military Muster Charity Golf Tournament with proceeds to benefit amputee veterans on April 28. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. with a 12:30 p.m. shot gun start. There will be a special appearance by the nation’s only amputee color guard. It is a four-person scramble with a $125 entry fee. Call (727) 799-2397 … The Eagles has set its Winter Junior Golf Clinic schedule. Saturday mornings cost $15 per junior and run from 9 – 10 a.m., and Wednesday afternoon clinics are from 5 – 6 p.m. Call (813) 920-6681 … Seven Springs Golf Club has a busy February planned. It will host a Super Bowl tournament on Feb. 2, its Member-Member event on Feb. 3-4, “Me and Mine’’ tournament on Feb. 9, a Valentines’ Day event on Feb. 14, its Ladies’ Golf Association championship on Feb. 17-18, the Men’s Golf Association Scramble (Feb. 21), and the Loyalist South Tournament (Feb. 22) … The Seven Springs Nine Hole Ladies featured a “Beat the Pro” competition and eight women got it done. They included: Karen Armstrong, Susan Bolster, Ann Giglio, Linda Haggbloom, Betty MacDonald, Jan Pettit, Peg Puglia, and Dorothy Snively … Fox Hollow is going to be busy with a Super Bowl event on Feb. 1. It will feature a 27-hole event featuring nine holes of best-ball, nine holes of alternate shot, and a nine-hole scramble with two-person teams. Cost is $40. Fox Hollow also is hosting its Member-Member event on Jan. 25-26. It will offer the first FedEx Cup points of the year at the club … Fox Hollow will hold its Valentine’s Day Nine and Dine with nine holes of golf, followed by dinner and wine … Heritage Springs Golf Club had its couples nine-hole scramble, featuring four flights. Winners included Jim and Judy Nichols, Butch and Bobbie Crim, Nick and Carol Truglio, and Rich and Barbara Greninger. Heritage Springs will also host its annual Midwest Golf Outing and Picnic on March 23. Anyone connected with Midwest is invited. The club also held a Blind 3 event with 15 holes, net scores. Grace Kotowicz took the first flight and Cheryl Jones won the second flight. Birdies were scored by Vickie Downey, Grace Kotowicz, Linda Kinney, and Donna Dinova … The Eagles will host a mixed couples event on Fridays at 3 p.m. featuring twilight rates, nine holes, and a glass of wine at the end … Rocky Point will start hosting Golf Ready classes hosted by Brianne Murphy on Saturdays starting Jan. 18. The cost is $125 for five weeks … That’s not all that’s going on at Rocky Point. There will be a two-hour class on Feb. 2 from 8 – 11 a.m. on hitting it close to the pin and dropping five strokes per round. The class is limited to five players. Also, on Feb. 9, Rocky Point will have a half-day school for $65 from 8 a.m. – noon. There will be only four players in the class, so RSVP. The day includes lunch, video analysis, and course play … … The Edwin Watts Golf Shop on North Dale Mabry is closing in early February. All items are now 20 – 40 percent off … The Concession in Bradenton will host the 2014 Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County on March 4, 2014. Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy twice at Ohio State will be bringing along plenty of other former Buckeyes as well as other celebrities … The Special Olympics is looking for a golf coach to work for two hours, one night a week. Call Sid Altner at (727) 944-4248 … To submit any golf news, coming events, holes-in-one, local tournament results, or anything related to local golf, send all information and a phone number to [email protected]