Thursday, October 30, 2014

Speed, Power Meet Golf at RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship

Championship Belt and $250,000 Winner-Take-All Prize at Stake for Eight Finalists Competing in Stadium Setting Under the Lights of Las Vegas

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – For the men who live to hit it long, the culmination of a dream can be realized on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, when eight of the longest hitters in the world will showcase the raw power that each hopes will earn him the championship belt and the winner-take-all prize of $250,000 at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, airing live on Golf Channel at 10 p.m. ET.The two-hour, live finale will originate from a competition set at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, where the finalists will hit their drives – requiring both distance and accuracy – in excess of 400 yards from a custom-made platform on to a Championship grid surrounded by thousands of spirited fans.

“There’s a lot at stake and a ton of pressure, so watching which one of these players can fight through his nerves and emotions to capture a world championship will make for a very compelling competition,” said Keith Allo, vice president of Original Productions, Golf Channel. “Add the lights, Las Vegas, head-to-head competition and the live ‘perform or go home’ atmosphere, and this will be high-drama at its best.”

The RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship identifies the longest golfer on earth and offers sports fans a chance to witness players who generate mammoth swing speeds of 150 mph and ball speeds of 220 mph. In comparison, the highest average swing speed on the PGA TOUR last season was 124 mph generated by Bubba Watson. His fastest swing of the year was 127 mph.  Long drive athletes train and prepare all year for the chance to take a swing at becoming the World Long Drive Champion. Specialized training allows long drive athletes to generate maximum ball and swing speeds, and focus solely on maximizing distance during competition. The golf equipment used in Long Drive competition conforms to regulations for all golfers set forth by the United States Golf Association.

Golf Channel anchor Ryan Burr will provide play-by-play; Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix, will offer analysis on the driving grid; and Lauren Thompson, co-host of Morning Drive, will handle interviews. Art Sellinger, long-drive pioneer, two-time national long-drive champion and owner of the Long Drivers of America, also will be on hand to provide long drive analysis.

The longest eight golfers on Earth competing will be:
* Daniel Beckman, 30, Fresno, California
* Jeff Crittenden, 43, Greensboro, North Carolina
* Jeff Flagg, 29, Pelham, Alabama
* Matt Hanger, 30, Anaheim, California
* Joe Miller, 29, London, England
* Connor Powers, 30, Naperville, Illinois
* Jamie Sadlowski , 26, St. Paul, Alberta, Canada
* Adam Smith, 24, Tomball, Texas

Miller won the world title in 2010 and was undefeated in 2014 on the Long Drivers European Tour, where he has captured 12 titles. He finished as the runner-up at the 2013 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to Tim Burke, who hit a world-record drive of 427 yards to win the title. Burke failed to qualify for a return trip to Las Vegas. Sadlowski, who famously broke two simulators during appearances on Golf Channel, is a two-time world champion and is making his eighth-straight appearance in the final – the longest active streak.

The head-to-head format will provide some dramatic pairings from the beginning of the show, including former World Champions Joe Miller and Jamie Sadlowski going up against each other in what could be one of the most exciting matches of the night. Players are allowed six shots in each match, played three at a time. The highest-seeded player gets to choose to hit first or second.

Match 1: Matt Hanger vs. Jeff Crittenden
Match 2: Joe Miller vs. Jamie Sadlowski
Match 3: Jeff Flagg vs. Daniel Beckman
Match 4: Adam Smith vs. Connor Powers

In October 2012, Long Drivers of America announced a new, three-year broadcast partnership with Golf Channel, which moved the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to air live on the network after 17 years on ESPN. This annual world championship of long driving has taken place each year since 1975 and attracts competitors from all over the world. Participation in competitions has nearly tripled and prize money has increased five-fold.

Product Review: The Ball

Hard to believe, but the holiday season is quickly approaching. Halloween is tomorrow and many stores already have their Christmas decorations on display. With that in mind, we thought we'd kick off the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide with a golf ball that’s built for distance off the tee, but possesses the superior feel and spin necessary to score from within 150 yards.

The Technology
The Ball (INeedTheBall.com) gets its distance from the core, which boasts yardage-producing tungsten, while featuring just the right compression to get the most out of it.

The multi-blend ionomer mantle promotes high initial velocity and low a launch angle - generating lower spin for longer distance off driver.

Last, but certainly not least, the cover is cast urethane with 318 dimples. A slow cure ensures the strongest chemical bonds, increasing durability and performance. Urethane provides a soft feel and good spin with wedges and short irons. It also produces more "grab" on an iron clubface, resulting in more spin and fewer flyers.

The Inspiration
Co-Owner Josh Coughlin studied the industry before jumping in with both feet.

“We saw an opportunity in the market for a sub $40 three-piece urethane ball which had great overall performance like many of the balls that are well above the $40 price point,” he said. “We wanted to make a ball that could be played from tee to green and have great durability to give the best value to our customer.”

The Test
Without naming names, we tested The Ball next to two balls from the industry’s leading producer. One was the “top shelf” option. The other was a step down, but very popular among weekend golfers. In price point comparison, The Ball falls in between, but closer to the “budget” ball.

Sound is often a great way to differentiate between quality balls. Drop a budget ball and premium ball on concrete and there’s a sharp contrast in sound. Budget balls are generally very “sharp,” while premium balls are somewhat muted because of their softer cover.

Taking that test to more practical levels - an 8-iron and putter - The Ball matched sound and, more importantly, feel of the premium level.

Distance is a little trickier to judge because of the “user error” that comes into play. With no use of a robot to make precise swings, we’re left with a more subjective test. I can say this: The Ball jumped off the clubface without having to over swing in order to achieve proper compression. Some premium options require a swing speed in excess of 100 mph to compress the ball and get maximum productivity. I felt I was compressing The Ball even when swinging under 95 mph - a more practical speed for the majority of golfers.

The Feedback
Having been on the market for less than a year, many golfers have yet to hear of The Ball, let alone have a opportunity to tee it up. According to Coughlin, those who’ve played it have liked it.

“Initial feedback has been great from the review/blog community, as well as our customers,” Coughlin said. “To me, the true test is re-orders from customers. People may give the ball a try, but if they don't come back and order more, that speaks to their true feelings of the ball. Bottom line. the ball has to perform and we have seen great retention of our customers, some placing four or more separate orders since our launch in late February.

American Golfer recommendation: You never know what the right ball for your game is until you put several in play for a round (or two). Just because Rory or Phil play a certain ball, doesn’t mean you should automatically follow suit. At $34.99 a dozen, it’s worth placing an order and seeing if The Ball is the ball for you. After your first round you may be shouting “I Need The Ball!

Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Lost Pines Launches Winter Golf Card

Card offers unbeatable deal for golfers looking to spend time on the greens during the mild Texas winter

(AUSTIN / BASTROP, TEXAS) – Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa is extending a warm, advance welcome to Old Man Winter with the launch of its annual Winter Golf Card.

Available for purchase for $499, Wolfdancer’s Winter Golf Card is a matchless deal for Central Texas golfers who are looking to make the most of the mild Texas winter by maximizing their time on the greens. About the Wolfdancer Winter Golf Card:
* A total of 100 cards are available
* ard includes unlimited rounds of golf between Nov. 24, 2014 and March 2, 2015 (no blackout dates but rounds are based on availability)
* Tee times are required and may be made up to seven days in advance
* Card must be mentioned when scheduling a tee time and presented upon check-in
* Card includes a golf cart and complimentary range balls
* Card includes 10 percent discount on merchandise purchases at the pro shop
* Card is non-transferrable
* Card may be purchased on our website or by calling 512-308-4770 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This is the sixth year the Winter Golf Card has been offered, and it has sold out in previous years due to the value of unlimited access to the award-winning Wolfdancer layout.

Designed by Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates, the superb 7,205-yard, par-72 Wolfdancer course rambles along a dramatic, 150-acre stretch of terrain dotted with oak, cedar elm and pecan trees. The course is cut by the Lower Colorado River, which dramatically frames the right side of the layout’s memorable finishing holes.

The Wolfdancer golf experience also includes a 13-acre driving range, a full-scale practice facility featuring 10 target greens and eight tee boxes, and a short-game area with two chipping greens and bunkers, and GPS units in each golf cart. Visitors not wishing to travel with their golf clubs to the resort are welcome to take advantage of the TaylorMade club rental program.

To learn more, call 512-308-1234 or visit www.lostpines.hyatt.com.

OnCore Golf kicks off WNY PGA Annual Sectional Membership Meeting with Key Sponsorship

(RELEASE) - OnCore Golf, makers of the only USGA conforming Hollow Metal Core MA 1.0 golf ball, was Lunch Sponsor of the WNY PGA Annual Sectional Membership Meeting at Seneca Hickory Sticks Golf Club (10/6/14). In addition to lunch, OnCore Golf provided two-ball sleeves of the MA 1.0 (hollow core golf ball) to 60 Western NY PGA Golf Professionals in attendance.

Seneca Hickory Sticks Golf Club hosted the event where the region’s golf professionals had a training session on the range, followed by lunch provided by OnCore Golf, and a round of golf at the club. Fran Roach, General Manger of the club, and Joe Bock, head PGA Professional of the club are carrying the MA 1.0 in their pro shop and were happy to see the region’s professionals teeing up the ball.

“We’re always looking to bring new innovation to our customers, which is why we are excited to carry OnCore’s new golf ball,” said Bock.

Hilton Head Golf Island Announces Three Golfers Ace Same Hole from Same Tees on Same Day

Feat Happened at Palmetto Hall Plantation Club’s Robert Cupp Course

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) – Hilton Head Golf Island announces three golfers from different foursomes made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole from the blue tees on the same day at Palmetto Hall Plantation’s Robert Cupp Course on October 19, 2014. This is the rarest feat of its kind on record.

The odds of this remarkable occurrence are about the same as winning the Powerball. The probability of making a hole-in-one for an average player is roughly 12,500-1. The chances of two people acing the same hole on the same day from the same foursome are in the 17 million-1 range.   Add in a third person, all from different groups, hitting from the same tees and the statistics are startling.

During the Amateur Golf Tour Championship sponsored by Golfweek, Daren Green of the Raleigh-Pinehurst Tour holed out first. In the foursome immediately following Green, Jose Talamantes from the Downeast Tour stepped up to swing from the same par-three hole and also hit an ace from 130 yards. Later in the afternoon, JPGA player André Scopone also made a hole-in-one from the eighth hole.

“We generally have a hand full of hole-in-ones annually, but three in one day is unbelievable,” says Dan Moscar, General Manager of Palmetto Hall Plantation Club. “In all my years in the industry, I have never had two aces in one day, let alone three!”

A Heritage Golf Group property, Palmetto Hall Plantation Club features 36 holes of pristine golf immersed in Southern elegance and natural beauty. The Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp-designed courses challenge and reward players of all skill levels. The Club proudly features a 14,000 square foot antebellum-style Clubhouse, as well as luxurious amenities for the entire family. Palmetto Hall Plantation Club is recognized as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for its commitment to environmental quality by meeting required standards for protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and preserving wildlife habitats.

For more information: www.heritagegolfgroup.com or www.palmettohallgolf.com.

Linda Hartough Golf Landscapes to Sponsor 2nd Annual Veterans Putting Challenge

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) – Linda Hartough, a world-renowned golf-landscape artist (www.hartough.com) and a Founding Sponsor of the Veterans Putting Challenge, will serve as a sponsor of the event again this year. The 2nd Annual Veterans Putting Challenge will be held Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Funds raised from the Challenge will be disbursed solely to the over 1,000 disabled and needy veterans and their families who reside in Moore County, N.C. The Veterans Putting Challenge is free and open to the public. Linda Hartough Golf Landscapes will donate a box of custom-art notecards to each participant and volunteer.

“We are proud to continue this year as a sponsor of the Veterans Putting Challenge, which is making an important difference in the lives of area veterans,” said Hartough, who attended the inaugural event last year.

About the Veterans Putting Challenge
Each participating team in the Veterans Putting Challenge will consist of a veteran from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as a disabled veteran from Desert Storm, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Dr. Edwin Cottrell, of Pinehurst, N.C., is a founder of the Veterans Putting Challenge. A decorated World War II veteran, Dr. Cottrell was an associate dean at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., where from 1958-78 he was the men’s golf coach. Dr. Cottrell was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame in 1991, and in 2004 received the Honor Award, presented by the College Golf Foundation and the GCAA to honor a coach for outstanding service and numerous contributions to men’s collegiate golf.

Veronica Karaman is the innovator and co-producer of the Veterans Putting Challenge. Her organization, Veronica Karaman Ministries, Inc., is dedicated to helping build and rebuild lives through creative and transformational community golf outreaches.

The Veterans Putting Challenge is sponsored by the Sandhills Military Officers Association of America. Funds raised from the event will be disbursed by Disabled American Veterans #83, in Carthage, N.C., solely for disabled and needy veterans of Moore County, N.C., and their families.
The Veterans Putting Challenge is accepting donations from businesses and individuals. Contributions may be sent to: DAV #83-VPC, PO Box 1881, Carthage, NC 28327.

Wier Grabs First Professional Win at SwingThought.com Tour Black Bear Event

Thaddeus Wier III birdies first playoff hole to earn his first professional win

(Myrtle Beach, S.C) – Some professional golfers go through their entire career without ever tasting victory in the pro ranks. Others, like Thaddeus Wier III, find success a lot sooner. In only his third week as a professional, Wier grabbed his first professional win.

Not only did Wier get the win but he did it in dramatic fashion by holing out from the fringe on the first hole of a playoff with Martinez, Ga.’s Casey Johnson. The two finished the two day event tied at 11 under par. Johnson, who starred at Appalachian State, had the opening day lead after a first round 65. Wier, who starred at St. John Fisher, shot an opening round 66 to start the final round a shot back. The two flip flopped Tuesday, Johnson shooting 68 and Wier shooting 67 to force the playoff. The two players went to hole one for the playoff where, after Johnson left himself a short putt for par, Wier sealed the deal making birdie from the fringe.

Wier has been knocking on the door all season, finishing out of the money three times by a single stroke. With the win the East Aurora, N.Y. native, who now resides in Myrtle Beach, S.C., grabbed the biggest payday by any player this season on the series and moved into 2nd on the Carolina Winter Series Money List. With the runner up finish Johnson maintained his spot at the top of the tour’s Money List. Johnson, who won last week at Sandpiper Bay, finished tied for 1st in the Sunday one day event at Black Bear as well, where he lost in a playoff to Eastern Michigan alum Spencer Slade. Slade, out of Ypsilanti, Mich. finished in solo 3rd for the two day event. Malone University alum Tyler Light, out of Massillon, Ohio, finished in solo 4th.

The SwingThought.com Tour would like to thank Patrick Wilkinson and his staff at Black Bear for conducting such a top notch professional event. The SwingThought.com Tour Carolina Winter Series picks back up next week with one and three day events at Meadowlands Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. The SwingThought.com Tour Pro Series will be hosting a special event next week, the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Beau Pre Bayou Bash, in Natchez, Miss. to coincide with the Sanderson Farms Championship providing those players who do not get into the PGA TOUR event a viable alternative to consider.

For more information on the SwingThought.com Tour Winter Series or to join, visit www.SwingThought.com or call the SwingThought.com Tour offices at 800-992-8748.