Saturday, December 20, 2014

SwingThought.com Tour to Open 2015 Season February 23-28 at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta, Ga.

Former South Georgia Classic host Kinderlou Forest Golf Club to host SwingThought.com Tour 2015 Season Opening event with $140,000 Purse and Web.com Tour event exemption on the line

(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) – The SwingThought.com Tour announced today they will open their 2015 Pro Series season February 23rd through 28th at former Web.com Tour South Georgia Classic host Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Ga. The event will be the first of sixteen (16) $140,000 guaranteed purse Pro Series events conducted by the SwingThought.com Tour in 2015. In addition to the guaranteed purse, the SwingThought.com Tour will also be awarding an event exemption into a Web.com Tour event at the Valdosta event on a yet-to-be-determined competitive basis.

Created by Davis Love III Designs, the professional course opened in April 2004, serving as host to six PGA Nationwide Tour events and two PGA Web.com events in ten years. The South Georgia Classic was one of the largest events on the tour, with one of the richest purses on the PGA qualifying circuit. In an area known for flat terrain, the topography of Kinderlou Forest is unusual for the region. Undulating hills lend a unique element not found in southern Georgia, and the signature #4 with its deep, all natural ravine is one of the most challenging, yet beautiful, holes on the course. With five tee boxes on each hole, the course plays as short as 5,315 yards or as long as 7,781 yards. 

The SwingThought.com Tour is currently taking memberships for the upcoming 2015 Pro Series set to begin in late February and continuing through to early September. The Pro Series will consist of 16 72-hole events with $140,000 Guaranteed Purses and 6 54-hole Qualifier/Q Prep events. Fields are limited to 132 players with the top 55 and ties making each cut. Also a minimum of six (6) 2015 Web.com Tour "event" exemptions will be awarded throughout the 2015 Pro Series season on a yet-to-be determined competitive basis. To join the 2015 SwingThought.com Tour Pro Series, players need only contact the SwingThought.com Tour offices at 800-992-8748 and sign up (memberships are granted on a first come first serve basis, no ranking schools or qualifiers are needed). Membership is $1500 running through January 15th and will increase to $2,000 after that date.

SwingThought.com Tour alumni have won an amazing 16 Major Championships and include 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk, 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson, two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen, British Open and PGA Champion John Daly, and recent PGA Tour winners such as Robert Streb, Ben Martin, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Ted Potter Jr, Gary Woodland, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, current FedExCup Points Leader Robert Streb, and many more. More recently 89 of the 150 players competing in the 2014 Web.com Tour Q School Final Stage this past week were past players on the SwingThought.com Tour.

For more information on the new SwingThought.com Tour, visit swingthought.com or call 800-992-8748.

PING Signs Brooke Henderson, Former World No. 1 Female Amateur

(PHOENIX) – Canadian golf sensation Brooke Henderson has signed an agreement to play PING equipment, PING Chairman & CEO John A. Solheim announced today.

Henderson, 17, will play the upcoming LPGA season on sponsor invites, with the goal to earn exempt status for the 2016 season. Among her 14 victories worldwide, Henderson won the individual title at the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. She was runner-up at last summer’s U.S. Women’s Amateur and she earned a top 10 at the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2012, at age 14, she became the youngest person ever to win a professional tour event when she won on the Canadian Women’s Tour.

“Brooke has captured the attention of Canadian sports fans, who are very proud of her long list of accomplishments as she’s become the face of women’s golf in Canada,” Solheim said. “She’s been a force in the amateur ranks for years, she’s won pro tournaments in Canada, and she’s made a big splash in the U.S. at major events. We’re pleased she’ll be representing PING as she takes the next step in her golf career.”

Henderson, a native of Smiths Falls, Ontario (pop. 9,000), said that she’s competed at a consistently high level for years, thanks in part to an experienced PING team that fits her with technology suited to her individual game. “I have a comfort level with PING because they spend the time to understand my game, and their clubs are awesome. PING clubs make me longer, more consistent and give me the confidence I’ll need to succeed as a professional. I’m excited to be part of the PING team.”

As part of a multi-year agreement, Henderson will display PING logos on her hat, carry a PING staff bag and play 14 PING clubs. Financial terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

GCAA Interviews K-State, SwingThought.com Tour Alumnus, FedExCup Points Leader Robert Streb

Streb was victorious earlier this fall at The McGladrey Classic and currently sits atop the FedExCup Standings

(Norman, Okla.) - The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the SwingThought.com Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the SwingThought.com tour. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there. Hundreds of SwingThought.com Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.

This month we spoke with Robert Streb, a SwingThought.com Tour alumnus currently playing on the PGA TOUR. Streb was victorious earlier this fall at The McGladrey Classic and currently sits atop the FedExCup Standings. He played collegiately at Kansas State University, where he had 12 career top-5 finishes and was named an All-American in 2009.

GCAA: How long have you been playing golf? At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally?

Streb: I have been playing golf since I was about 2 or 3 years old, I used to tag along to the driving range with my dad when my mom was traveling for work. I started thinking about professional golf toward the end of high school and start of college but didn’t take the idea seriously until my last year of college. I had a good last season and it made feel like if I worked hard I might be able to reach the PGA TOUR.

GCAA: You played collegiately at Kansas State, where you were named an All-American. What about your time playing in college do you think has helped you the most as a professional?

Streb: Our coach Tim Norris played on the PGA TOUR for 9 years, which kind of fueled me to want to keep playing. I would generally ask questions about what the courses were like and what I needed to improve to succeed. Also, playing against some of the best in the country at conference every year also fueled the desire to improve.

GCAA: Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when playing collegiate golf?

Streb: How to better manage my game and my misses. I am still learning but feel like I have a much better grasp on it now.

GCAA: What about the college experience, outside of golf, helped prepare you for life as a professional golfer?

Streb: I met my wife there, which was a big bonus! I feel like she has helped my game improve. She has helped me with my temperament and getting away from the game when I am tired after a long stretch.

GCAA: You played on both the SwingThought.com Tour (NGA Tour) and Web.com Tour before playing on the PGA TOUR. What did the chances to play on those tours mean to you and how did they impact your game?

Streb: I was not sure exactly what I was getting into when I started on the SwingThought.com Tour. The Tour was a tremendous help to me because I realized how many great players are out there! In addition, I learned how to manage my schedule, travel, and how to practice. I knew that there was a pedigree of players that started on the SwingThought.com Tour and were succeeding at the highest level.

The Web.com Tour was a shorter stint but also a nice building block as well. I didn’t have great status but kind of hit this hot streak and before I knew it I was right in the thick of it to get my PGA TOUR card. On the Web.com Tour the scheduling and travel gets a little more complex with the luxury of equipment trailers and more time management.

GCAA: What are some of your best memories of your time on the SwingThought.com Tour?

Streb: It was really nice when my wife could come out and travel. I still have plenty of friends from when I played out there and I still keep in touch with the Tour staff. I also met some great people in the pro-ams that we are still good friends with. There is a lot of camaraderie out there, which is comforting on the road.

GCAA: Have you changed the way you prepare for a tournament at all between your time playing in college and now on the PGA TOUR?

Streb: Yes, it has changed quite a lot over the years. My warm up is still very similar but I feel like I practice differently and more efficiently. It takes a little time to figure out what works for you and how to prepare. I still hardly ever write anything in my yardage book and my caddie gives me a hard time about it, and rightfully so!

GCAA: You had your first PGA TOUR win earlier this year at The McGladrey Classic and are also sitting atop the FedExCup Standings. How does the early season success set you up for the remainder of the season?

Streb: I feel like the quick start has opened some really cool doors for 2015. I earned an exemption into the Masters (my first major), The PGA Championship, and the WGC at Firestone. Leading the FedExCup is something I didn’t really expect but every golfer is striving for. I am hoping to continue the good play and hope to be able to make a run at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

GCAA: What are some of your interests outside of golf? Do you find that you need some time away from the course now and then?

Streb: I took about a 2 week break after the fall season and did not touch my clubs. I feel like everyone needs a break at some point to recharge their batteries. I like to follow Kansas State sports, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In my off time we hang out with our family and we are pretty busy preparing for our little girl due Feb. 9!

GCAA: What advice would you offer current collegiate golfers that would like to turn professional?

Streb: To ask as many questions as you can from current professionals, and try to tee it up in a couple tournaments that pros are competing in. Most importantly, enjoy the golf and don’t make it feel like work.

The SwingThought.com Tour is currently taking memberships for the upcoming 2015 Pro Series set to begin in late February and continuing through to early September. The Pro Series will consist of 16 72-hole events with $140,000 Guaranteed Purses and 6 54-hole Qualifier/Q Prep events. Fields are limited to 132 players with the top 55 and ties making each cut. Also a minimum of six (6) 2015 Web.com Tour "event" exemptions will be awarded throughout the 2015 Pro Series season on a yet-to-be determined competitive basis. To join the 2015 SwingThought.com Tour Pro Series, players need only contact the SwingThought.com Tour offices at 800-992-8748 and sign up (memberships are granted on a first come first serve basis, no ranking schools or qualifiers are needed). Membership is $1500 running through January 15th and will increase to $2,000 after that date.

SwingThought.com Tour alumni have won an amazing 16 Major Championships and include 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk, 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson, two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen, British Open and PGA Champion John Daly, and recent PGA Tour winners such as Robert Streb, Ben Martin, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Ted Potter Jr, Gary Woodland, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, current FedExCup Points Leader Robert Streb, and many more.

For more information on the new SwingThought.com Tour visit swingthought.com or call 800-992-8748.

Bridgestone Golf Becomes Official Equipment Sponsor of GolfTalk Live Radio Show

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) - Bridgestone Golf, the number one ball fitter in golf, has announced their largest media partnership in Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic regions - becoming the new equipment sponsor of GolfTalk Live, the award-winning weekly radio show based in Philadelphia.

With ambassadors on all major professional golf tours, Bridgestone has built a strong presence throughout the world.  Within a decade, Bridgestone Golf's output has been consistently increasing to meet the demand of the amateur golfer.
   
Bridgestone Golf has successfully moved all manufacturing of their premium golf ball lines to the United States.  This in turn has created jobs and offered golfers premium quality in golf ball selection.
   
"The growth of Bridgestone Golf in such a short period of time is one of the most impressive of any equipment company to date," exclaims show host, Tony Leodora.  "Their products continue to get better and I look forward to serving as their brand ambassador in the Delaware Valley and beyond."
   
Through Bridgestone's partnership with GolfTalk Live, products will be widely available at various events throughout the year and at live remote broadcasts of the show.  Bridgestone is also the official equipment sponsor of the GolfTalk Live Winter Invitational Series, the nine-hole better-ball of partners competition at Play-a-Round Golf in Malvern, PA.
   
"Bridgestone Golf is proud to partner with Tony Leodora and his team at the GolfTalk Live radio show," said Corey Consuegra, Director of Marketing - Bridgestone Golf.  "It is hard to find someone as widely respected and trusted as Tony is both by listeners and industry professionals, as well.  We know he is the right man to help educate Delaware Valley golfers and the rest of his listeners on the importance of choosing a golf ball that is right for their swing.  In addition, we love that we're partnering with a media outlet who truly values our company's efforts to bring manufacturing back to the U.S."
   
Bridgestone Golf, Inc., based in Covington, GA, manufactures and markets premium golf balls, clubs and accessories under the Bridgestone and Precept brand names. Bridgestone is represented on a world stage by a number of internationally famed golfers including Fred Couples, Paula Creamer, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Lee Trevino and Karrie Webb.  Bridgestone Golf, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Sports Co. Ltd., whose headquarters are in Tokyo.  For more information visit www.bridgestonegolf.com.
   
Bridgestone Golf, Inc. is proud to be the #1 Ball-Fitter in Golf as the industry leader in live launch monitor fittings. Bridgestone provides three ways for golfers to find the ball that best fits their game: live fittings through the Bridgestone Ball Fitting Challenge, live online chats with ball fitting experts through its B-FIT service, and an easily accessible Online Ball Selection Guide that utilizes aggregate data from real world fittings to recommend the best ball for you. For more information on ball fitting including a complete schedule of Ball Fitting Challenge events visit www.bridgestonegolf.com.
   
The GolfTalk Live radio show, hosted by Tony Leodora, is the award-winning weekly radio show that was named No. 1 Golf Radio Show in America by the International Network of Golf at the PGA Merchandise Show in three of the last six years. The show airs 52 weeks a year from 7 to 8 a.m. each Saturday on WNTP 990-AM and on www.wntp.com.

The show also is syndicated. The first affiliate, added in 2012, was WOND 1400-AM in Atlantic City. It airs there at 3 p.m. every Saturday. The show took another leap forward when it was added to the daily lineup on www.TheGolfDirector.com. GolfTalk Live also can be heard any time following each show on its official website, www.golftalklive.net.

Premier Golf Announces Exclusive Partnership with Streamsong Resort

(DULUTH, GA) – Premier Golf – the licensed golf travel company of the PGA of America for more than two decades – announces today that it will become the preferred golf tour operator for all-inclusive travel packages to Streamsong Resort in Florida, one of the top-rated golf experiences in the country and home to two of Golfweek’s top resort courses in the U.S. (Source: Golfweek’s Best Resort Courses, 2015).

With a wealth of golf travel expertise to both domestic and international destinations such as St. Andrews, Bandon Dunes and Pinehurst, Premier Golf will leverage Streamsong’s critically-acclaimed golf courses, luxury accommodations and world-class resort amenities to provide guests with unrivaled itineraries.

Tucked away on 16,000 natural acres in central Florida, Streamsong features two award-winning courses – Streamsong Red, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and recently named the best public golf course in the state of Florida by Golf Digest, and Streamsong Blue, designed by Renaissance Golf Design (Tom Doak). Since their grand opening in January 2013, both courses have garnered an impressive list of awards and accolades for their pure golf experience.

In addition to golf, resort guests can experience guided excursions on the property’s prolific bass fishing lakes, test their aim at the resort’s sporting clays facility; indulge in relaxing spa treatments at AcquaPietra; explore the natural surroundings and wildlife along a tranquil nature trail; and take a dip in the lakeside infinity pool. Guests and avid golf travelers will marvel at the resort’s luxurious rooms, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows and stunning views of the property’s lakes and surroundings, and a diverse mix of cuisine and fine dining at Streamsong’s four restaurants.

“We’re honored to be chosen by Streamsong for this exclusive partnership,” says Premier Golf President, Jim Ward. “The well-appointed accommodations, contemporary dining options and luxury resort amenities that complement Streamsong’s highly-acclaimed golf courses will deliver some of the most memorable travel packages for PGA professionals and their guests.”

A licensed partner of the PGA for 25 years, Premier Golf is a division of Georgia-based Travel Incorporated and provides all-encompassing travel services to some of the world’s greatest golf destinations. Travel packages include tee times, accommodations, ground transportation and more.

Premier Golf has also been the only official source for Ryder Cup travel and ticket packages since 1991 and has sent more than 25,000 fans to golf’s greatest event. The 2016 matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota will mark Premier Golf’s 13th consecutive Ryder Cup.

For additional package details, or to receive a free quote, visit www.premiergolf.com or call 866.260.4409.

Jerry Kelly Joins CHASE54 as TEAM54 Lead and Strategic Advisor

Partners Mean Business as They Form Groundbreaking Ambassadorship Model 

(RELEASE) - CHASE54, the evolving apparel brand named for the pursuit of the perfect score in golf, proudly announces its collaboration with PGA Tour Player Jerry Kelly.

Kelly, a fan favorite who is in the Top-30 all-time on the PGA Tour money list, will work directly with company executives to elevate the brand while wearing CHASE54 on Tour. Kelly is currently ranked 29thth in the FedEx Cup and has three PGA Tour Wins. In 2014, Kelly had two third-place finishes and four top-10 finishes.

“What a rare opportunity to integrate Jerry’s deep industry knowledge, business acumen and hands-on experience to move our fabric technology and style development forward,” says Lulu Faddis, Chief Designer and Creative Director of CHASE54. “We could not find a better fit, as Jerry exudes the brand perfectly…he is established with nearly 20 years on the PGA Tour, yet possesses a fresh energy and solid vision,” she adds.

“While CHASE54 has unstoppable momentum as a likeable new brand, our foundation is solid with 30 years of apparel manufacturing experience. By coining this new model for an ambassador partnership, together we are showing the world we mean business,” Faddis says.

“As soon as I tried on my first piece from CHASE54, I felt they had something incredibly unique,” Kelly says. “I love the fabrics and will help them innovate in the designs with my perspective,” he adds. “Nobody has the capacity to do what they do, since they create their own fabrics and own their manufacturing. This is going to be a dynamic partnership and the world should get ready, because they’re going to experience golf apparel like never before,” Kelly says.

The partnership commences on January 1 and the parties intend to work together for the long-term, engaging in a three-year agreement. Kelly will first appear wearing CHASE54 at the Sony Open in Hawaii on January 15 and has met with CHASE54 leadership to kickoff the partnership.

To learn more about the brand, visit www.chase54.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Product Review: Tour Edge Hot Launch

Golfers are always looking for the hot, new driver, but too often suffer from sticker shock when looking at the latest models. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an adjustable driver with all the bells and whistles at about half the price? Tour Edge thought so, and introduced the Hot Launch for only $199.99.

The Hot Launch is a titanium driver with adjustable loft options ranging from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees in one-degree increments. The adjustability gives players ultimate control in choosing the most efficient loft for optimal performance.

With a 460cc titanium, four-piece forged club head, the Hot Launch’s deep face design and variable face thickness technology provides maximum power from more contact points on the face. And weight positioned in the rear center of the sole of creates a deep center of gravity for easy launch and greater forgiveness on off-center hits. The internal sole design incorporates additional weight in the heel and toe to maximize stability and performance.

What does all this mean? In a nutshell, the Tour Edge Hot Launch offers premium performance at a budget-friendly price point. Extremely forgiving, this driver provides terrific distance and the freedom to hit low “stingers” or send the ball into orbit. All the benefits at half the cost ... the Hot Launch has raised the bar while lowering the price.

Learn more at www.touredge.com.