Thursday, December 31, 2015

NBC Sports Group Rings in the New Year with Primetime Tournaments from Hawaii

Watch the PGA TOUR’s Best at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii on Golf Channel

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – NBC Sports Group will kick off 2016 coverage of the PGA TOUR next week with the Hawaii Swing at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii the following week. Headlined by an elite field who qualified as a result of winning during the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season that includes World No.1 Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will be held at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui, Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 7-10, with the majority of coverage airing in primetime on Golf Channel. The PGA TOUR moves to Honolulu the following week for the first full-field event in 2016, the Sony Open in Hawaii, taking place at Waialae Country Club, Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 14-17, also airing in primetime on Golf Channel.

WEEKEND LEAD-IN COVERAGE OF HYUNDAI TOC ON NBC: For the third consecutive year, weekend coverage of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will air on NBC leading in to Golf Channel coverage. Live coverage on NBC is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 9 or Sunday, Jan. 10, with continuing coverage on Golf Channel. **NBC’s lead-in coverage is subject to change depending on the network’s coverage of that weekend’s NFL Wild Card game.**

GOLF CENTRAL ON THE ROAD AT HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS AND SONY OPEN IN HAWAII: Golf Central will complement tournament coverage of the Hawaii swing with live wraparound news coverage produced and broadcast on location from dedicated sets, including on-site for the first time at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Notah Begay, Ryan Burr, Mark Rolfing and Steve Burkowski will report on-site for Golf Central at both events, with Brandel Chamblee joining the team at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

ROLFING SET TO RETURN FOLLOWING CANCER TREATMENT: Longtime Golf Channel / NBC Sports analyst Mark Rolfing is set to return to the broadcast team at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. In August, Rolfing was diagnosed with a rare form of salivary gland cancer and took a leave of absence following the PGA Championship for surgery and treatment. Rolfing, who lives in Maui, will serve as an analyst for both live tournament coverage and for Golf Central’s on-site news coverage.

TOURNAMENT BROADCAST TEAMS: Rich Lerner and Peter Jacobsen will call the action from the broadcast booth at the Plantation Course in Kapalua for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. They will be joined by tower analysts Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing; on-course reporters Jerry Foltz and Curt Byrum; and reporter/interviewer Steve Burkowski. Steve Sands will join Jacobsen in the booth as play-by-play host at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGA TOUR SEASON RESET TO AIR ON NBC: On Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC will air a half-hour special titled PGA TOUR Season Reset, recapping the first few events of the 2015-16 season and previewing the upcoming PGA TOUR schedule and storylines heading into the New Year. **Time is subject to change based on NBC’s weekend coverage of the NFL’s Wild Card game.**

COMPREHENSIVE DIGITAL COVERAGE: will provide users with comprehensive online coverage of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii. editorial director Jay Coffin (Hyundai) and senior writer Rex Hoggard (Hyundai and Sony) will report from on-site.

Jan. 7 Round 1 6-10 p.m. Golf Channel
Jan. 8 Round 2 6-10 p.m. Golf Channel
Jan. 9 Round 3 TBD NBC**
Jan. 9 Round 3 3-7 p.m. Golf Channel**
Jan. 10 Final Round TBD NBC**
Jan. 10 Final Round 5-7 p.m. Golf Channel**

**NBC lead-in coverage and Golf Channel’s Saturday or Sunday coverage is subject to change based on NBC’s weekend coverage of the NFL’s Wild Card game.**

Jan. 14 Round 1 7-10:30 p.m. Golf Channel
Jan. 15 Round 2 7-10:30 p.m. Golf Channel
Jan. 16 Round 3 7-10:30 p.m. Golf Channel
Jan. 17 Round 4 6-10 p.m. Golf Channel

Bette & Court's Fall 2016 Apparel Line Launches at 2016 PGA Merchandise Show

(DENVER, CO) - Bette & Court, a premier women's golf apparel company, is pleased to launch their Fall 2016 women's apparel collection at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. on January 27-29 at booth # 5459.

"We are emerging for Fall 2016 with a fashion byword...FUN! Unique, performance lifestyle pieces create collections that are worthy of the most active woman", says Justina Cordova-Bottomley, Senior Designer at Bette & Court.  "Lighter palettes of mid-tones refresh our COOL ELEMENTS and create the CORE for our new fall wardrobe. We are introducing many new options as the look is happy and item driven so women of every age and inclination can mix and match. The sky's the limit."

Along with our original Cool Elements sun protection shirt with mesh under the sleeve, we are presenting some new options in silhouettes that are getting rave reviews in the previews.  Prints, hoods, crews and lots of detailing tie in to the texture making the pieces unique and essential. The mesh is our trademark and it serves as function as well as fashion.

Lavender, calypso, mint and coral refresh the core essentials and become the strength of the 3 collections.

Lavender Ice- it is an intriguing color, one that evokes a sense of calm. It is sophisticated and chic bringing a cool energy to any garment. It is the perfect hue to use in contrast with slate and pop with a bold coral.

Minty Fresh- lush and elegant, this minty hue makes quite a splash against the warmer tones of the season. The addition of calypso ignites the collection and makes it all the more magnetic to view. Paring these cool shades with sharp black and white gives the collection a sense of excitement.

Sugar Rush- the significant hit of hot pink makes a strong statement when paired with a sunny ray of Coral. A perfect combination to give you that sweet rush of inner strength and confidence to conquer anything.

Bold prints and graphics make strong statement pieces while the small unique features make the difference. These exciting new lines concentrate on clean distinct design lines, while letting the strong prints and new silhouettes stand out.

Bette & Court is continuing the lead in sun protection with fashion and performance addressing the needs of all of us today.

For more information about Bette & Court and Sport Haley, visit and

Sport Haley Launches Fall 2016 Women's Golf Collection

(Denver, CO) - Sport Haley, a premier women's golf apparel company, is pleased to launch their Fall 2016 collection at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. on January 27-29 at booth # 5459. For nearly 30 years, Sport Haley has been offering women timeless, classic and elegantly designed clothing for on and off the golf course and clubhouse.

The new "Once Upon a Time" collections are rich with color, yet light and airy. Comfortable and easy, yet smart combinations of prints and textures worthy of the lifestyle brand that Sport Haley represents. Fabrications are for function and fashion, with a lot of comfort fitting for any occasion.

"Our success with our Clubhouse Classics continues with an early delivery filled with colorful fashion basics and true essentials," says Cathy Blair, President and Creative Director for Sport Haley. "Build and replenish from this assortment throughout the season and keep the shop or your own wardrobe fresh and exciting. This array of product introduces the collections to come, and features key wardrobe building pieces. This is our most popular category and has proven successful in sales time and time again."

Enchanted Forest features a vibrant cambridge red and mixes with navy and white for a simple but whimsical collection. This takes preppy down a modern path.

Woodland Glen showcases the most neutral of beachwood that, when mixed with black and cream, diffuses in ikats and skin prints. Strong statement pieces are key wardrobe builders.

Mystic Pond is classic yet defined, as clipper blue and black come together in one of the most prominent color duos. Rich plaids and geos create a subtle but distinct palette.

Crystal Ball is festive with tinsel tones creating enchanting looks for the merriest of occasions.  This Holiday boutique adds the Swarovski crystal touch and the sparkle of enchantment.

Sport Haley remains a leader in the women's golf industry, in clubhouse fashion, and beyond. Because we extend our collections into our lifestyles, everything matters.

For more information about Sport Haley, visit

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Golf Life Navigators President Jason H. Becker, PGA, Earns “12 Under 40” Award

(SOUTH FLORIDA) – Golf Life Navigators Founder Jason H. Becker, PGA, received “12 Under 40” distinction from The News Press last week, an honor that spotlights young entrepreneurs and executive leaders in Southwest Florida.

The media outlet profiles one young professional each month – ranging from entrepreneurs to executive leaders – who positively impact Southwest Florida’s business landscape.

Becker formed a company of PGA Professionals and real estate experts, trusted advisors who pinpoint ideally suited golf clubs and real estate properties for clients looking to move to or relocate in Florida.  GLN’s in-depth analysis and trusted-advisor guidance ensures clients get what they want stress-free, and it offers a comprehensive roster of recommended service providers to further ensure easy, enjoyable transitions.

“It’s humbling and gratifying to be included in this list,” said Becker. “But it’s really a company honor as it’s our team of talented, dedicated executives who combine to make Golf Life Navigators a successful, growing service that is making a huge, life-enhancing difference for our clients.”

The News Press shared Becker’s business leader insights and highlighted his achievements and inspirations.  It also chronicles a near-fatal car accident that led Becker to found GLN.

“The accident caused me to reexamine my life; it helped me understand that I wanted to do something to help people,” said Becker. “To do this is fulfilling; to be honored for helping people is icing on the cake.”

For more information, visit or call 800.447.8707.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gary Player's Design Influence Felt across the World in 2015

(RELEASE) - Gary Player shows no signs of slowing down, even after his 80th birthday and celebrating the 50th anniversary of his career Grand Slam. 2015 highlighted a milestone year for the Black Knight, as he continued to impact the golfing world and leave his global footprint across the golf course design industry. This year, the Black Knight team designed courses in countries world-wide including India, Italy, the United States, Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, Peru, and Vietnam.

More than 40 projects are under design or construction on five continents ranging from Gary Player Signature layouts to a collaboration with legends of golf to family style short-courses for those still learning the game.

“Gary Player’s global appeal and vast design experience have allowed us to shift our focus to virtually any emerging market around the world,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design.  “Declines in traditional markets simply don’t have as much impact when your leader is an international icon who is staying incredibly active.”

One of the most exciting projects in the works is for the historic Greenbrier Resort in the United States. For the first time, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Trevino are collaborating on an 18-hole Championship course with hopes of hosting a Major championship. With more than 1000 courses designed between the four golf icons, this one-of-a-kind experience surely will attract the attention of golf’s governing bodies.

On Player’s home continent of Africa, the Black Knight team was selected to design the first Championship caliber course in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We are excited that our client is dedicated to developing a world-class golf experience, and we aim to implement design elements that will lead to the promotion and expansion of the game in this emerging market while captivating and enhancing the natural features of the site,” said Senior Designer Jeff Lawrence.

In the Far East, Vietnam has emerged as a golf destination as China’s government assesses sensible golf development criteria. Gary Player Design has been engaged in multiple locations and continues to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia.  Senior Designer Steven McFarlane, who has led much of our work in China, said, “Vietnam is a wonderful country with fantastic golf course sites, and with considerable government support, we expecting to be working there for years to come.”

In addition to designing new courses, several professional tournaments were played on Gary Player-designed golf courses around the world.

The European Tour hosted the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in South Africa, DLF Golf and Country Club in India was the site of the Ladies European Tour Hero Women’s Indian Open, and Indura Beach and Golf Resort in Latin America made a strong first impression on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica at the 2015 Honduras Open.

During the year Gary Player Invitational charity series tournaments were played on Gary Player-designed course and hosted legends of golf and entertainment including Tom Watson, Annika Sorenstam, Michael Douglas, and Ronan Keating. The world-leading charity golf series raised more than $1 million for underprivileged children in 2015. With six events planned in 2016, The Player Foundation will charge closer to their goal of raising $100 million for charity.

“From golf course design to philanthropy, there is a great deal left that I want to accomplish,” said Gary Player. “I plan to stay active by helping those in need for as long as I can. It is my hope that I will be remembered for being more than just a golfer. I really want to impact people’s lives.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Product Review: Under Armour Game Day Eyewear

Think back to the Under Armour commercials that had athletes yell, “We must protect this house!” They made you want to go out and tackle someone, right?

Let’s change that command to, “We must protect these eyes!”

Thanks to UA’s Game Day eyewear, you can protect your eyes while protecting your house (home golf course). With 100 percent of UVA, UVB and UVC Ray protection coating, these shades are as good for your eyes as they are for your appearance.

Beyond protection, distortion-free lenses make Game Day ideal for the golf course, as well as enhanced peripheral vision, edge to edge.

Don’t worry about blasting out of that green-side bunker. UA’s Multiflection lens coating guards against scratches and smudges.

And it gets hot on the course, but spacing between the Game Day frame and lens allows for ventilation and breathability.

While I wouldn’t recommend storing your Game Day eyewear (inside the included soft case) in your golf bag, it’s nice to know the UA frame technology “Armourfusion” flex frames will retain shape.

Find out more at

The Traveling Golfer at PGA Village

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pitchfix for Stockings, Promotional Opportunities

I had been hearing quite a bit of buzz about the new Twister repair tool from Pitchfix, so was happy to test one out. Little did I know that Pitchfix was so much more than the Twister.

First things first ... the Twister makes divot repair extremely easy to do and results in perfect repairs without any damage to the green. It consists of a head with three metal pins with a small diameter precisely positioned on an imaginary circle for optimal function.

Bonus: The Twister comes with the Pitchfix removable magnet ball marker and is available in eight color combinations.

Beyond that, Pitchfix also offers three different switchblade repair tools - original, classic and hybrid. Each are light weight and feature a removable ball marker. Depending on the style, there are as many as 19 color combinations.

The Pitchfix AlignMee ball aligner tool had me guessing when I first saw it, but love the concept - to provide golfers with a tool that helps them to improve their putting by marking their golf ball for better lining up in the pre-put routine. With a metal hinge and integrated marker, everything you need can be easily attached to your bag.

With removable ball markers so popular, it was a natural fit for Pitchfix to offer a hat clip, as well. The clip is made from strong, thin, titaniumized (anti-scratch & anti-rust) stainless steel and therefore light weight and comes in 10 different colors.

Each makes a great stocking stuffer, but it’s the marketing opportunities that quickly come to mind. The golf industry is flush with promotional material. With branding and personalization of these tools, a business can easily share its message.

Che k out everything Pitchfix has to offer at

Kaua‘i Shines in Golfweek’s “America’s Best Resort Courses, 2016”

(KAUA‘I, Hawaii) – Princeville Makai Golf Club and Poipu Bay Golf Course were ranked among the nation’s top resort courses in Golfweek’s “America’s Best Resort Courses, 2016,” published last week.

Golfweek deploys more than 700 experienced raters each year to survey thousands of courses based on variety of categories: holes, strength of conditioning, natural setting, routing, shaping and management.

“Many people know about our island beaches, lush mountains and waterfalls, and awards like this let golfers know that our courses are equally amazing,” said Sue Kanoho, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau Executive Director. “Princeville Makai and Poipu Bay are the tip of our golf iceberg – Ocean Course at Hōkūala (formerly Kiele Course at Kaua‘i Lagoons), Wailua and Puakea combine to offer visitors many additional first-class playing options.”

Princeville Makai was designed by golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. An amenity of the St. Regis Princeville Resort, Makai offers amazing Pacific Ocean scenery, excellent conditions and service, and a variety of scintillating holes. The par-3 7th hole requires a tee shot over an ocean cove and stunning views of nearby Mount Makana jutting into the sea.

Poipu Bay was also authored by Trent Jones Jr., and it is renowned for a closing stretch of holes that sit atop 100-foot-high red-faced cliffs towering over the shoreline. PGA TOUR legend Phil Mickelson holds the course record at Poipu Bay, an amenity of Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa.

Both Princeville Makai and Poipu Bay were recently renovated and received rave reviews for their restorations.

For more information about Kaua‘i Golf courses and resorts, visit and register to there to receive monthly e-news and prize offers for free golf, or

Major champs Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker Join Strong Field in 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge

Past champion Brian Gay gives Jan. 18-24 tournament 11 past winners; Donald, Casey, Leishman, Lahiri give it global exposure

(LA QUINTA, Calif.) – Popular major champion Jason Dufner along with Steve Stricker, join international standouts Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri as the latest commitments to the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, which welcomes many of the best players in the world to the Coachella Valley Jan 18-24.

Also committing to the event is 2013 champion Brian Gay, giving the event 11 past champions, spanning three decades to 1998 winner Mark Brooks. The past-champions total includes defending champion Bill Haas, who is one of eight multiple winners of the event.

The 2013 PGA Champion, Dufner becomes the fifth major champion to join the field, where he’ll find fellow major winners Brooks, Justin Leonard, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink awaiting. They’ll face two new courses: the TPC Stadium and Jack Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA WEST, which join longtime tournament mainstay La Quinta Country Club as courses for the event, which features a $5.8 million purse. Official rounds are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 24.

“Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker are two players who are certain to attract a strong gallery as they are such fan favorites,” said Tournament Director Bill Tait. “Both have international experience in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and both are capable of putting on an amazing show.

“When you look at our international players, you find a former world No. 1-ranked player in Luke Donald, a Ryder Cup standout in Paul Casey and two top-50 players in Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri, who both played on the last Presidents Cup team. That’s a lot of firepower and a lot of experience in pressure situations. Our fans will relish watching them take on the Stadium Course,” Tait, continued.

Dufner captured the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club outside Rochester, N.Y., the crown jewel of his three career victories. In early December, Dufner and partner Brandt Snedeker won the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout in the unofficial money event.

The last time Stricker played this event was 2009.  It was the Bob Hope Classic and he nearly won it after going 61-62 on Friday and Saturday, before finishing T3. He has 12 career victories, spanning from 1996 to 2012, and has represented the U.S. internationally nine times, including five Presidents Cup teams and three Ryder Cup teams.

A former No. 1 player in the world, Donald played the event for the first time last year. He has five PGA TOUR victories, eight wins internationally and played on four European Ryder Cup teams. Donald’s fellow Englishman, Casey, is currently ranked 22nd in the world and has 14 international victories on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia, along with three European Ryder Cup berths. He played the event for the second time last year, his first appearance since 2002.

“It’s a lot of fun. The beauty of starting there is everybody’s in a great mood,” Casey said. “There is a buzz about it, and that’s what I really like. It’s almost like the first day of school. Everybody’s excited. Everybody’s keen. We get great crowds out there because it’s a golfing community. People know it, understand it and love it.”

The Australian Leishman is currently ranked 26th in the world. After going 1-2-1 for the International Team at the Presidents Cup in South Korea in September – his second appearance for the Internationals -- Leishman won his first European Tour event this month at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. He has one PGA TOUR victory, the 2012 Travelers Championship.

Lahiri has become the face of golf in India. He is ranked 41st in the world and his 18 worldwide victories include two recent wins on the European Tour and in September, he became the first player from India to play in the Presidents Cup. Lahiri’s T5 at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was the best showing in a major championship by a native of India.

For those fans seeking an extra experience tournament week, there’s Club 17 Presented by Hyundai, which can be purchased on the tournament’s website. Overlooking the TPC Stadium Course’s famous par-3 17th hole – nicknamed “Alcatraz” for its island green – Club 17 features a sports-bar atmosphere inside and views of some of the most exciting golf in the tournament outside. To learn more go to or call (760) 346-8184.

Loudmouth Golf Unveils Winter Collection

(Foster City, CA) - Loudmouth Golf, the worldwide leader in bold and bright golf and sports fan apparel, is proud to announce four new designs to its 2015 Winter Collection. The new line consists of season-specific styles boldly designed to keep your style hot when the weather (or your golf game!) is not. Introducing the four new patterns:

"Ice Pick" - This urban winter design uses less color than our traditional rainbow palette, but the sharp shapes still speak for themselves.

"8-Track" - Loudmouth Designer, Woody, loves the 1960s retro style so much, he modeled this design after an old-school diner counter top. For those of you who don't know what an 8-track is, ask your mom or dad.

"Bohemian" - Woody went back a decade further to the 1950s and experimented with a unique colorway of merlot, persimmon and lime punch. Wear these to the cool cafes or coffee shops where beatniks chill.

"Black & White" - Black and white has always been a strong "color" combination and argyle has always been a top-selling pattern. We put the two together and voila! Black & White Argyle!

"I usually disregard seasonal color, and do colorful things all the time," says Loudmouth Founder & Designer, Woody. "This year, we 'followed' the seasons, but in our own way. At Loudmouth, we never follow, we always lead!"

Loudmouth Golf's 2015 Winter Collection is available for both men and women and includes pants, shorts, skorts and hats. In addition to the stocked items, Loudmouth offers Made-to-Order (MTO) clothing, which lets customers customize the waist size and length of their garment to provide the ultimate fit.

For more information visit:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The #1 Stocking Stuffer in Golf

The #1 ball in golf has the #1 stocking stuffer, too. What could be better than a dozen Pro V1s and a Titleist beanie?

The Pro V1 is a three-piece ball with a spherically-tiled 352 tetrahedral dimple design. The 2015 model features a new, patented thermoset urethane elastomer cover that delivers more short game spin and control, and softer feel.

So, you got a dozen balls for Christmas, but it’s cold outside. That’s where the beanie comes into play. The lightweight, comfortable and stylish hat offers dual-layered warmth and the Titleist logo stitched on the front.

Order both, and more, at

Product Review: Sunice Allendale Thermal Pullover

Gone are the days of ill-fitting sweaters and boxy jackets to keep golfers warm when there’s a chill in the air. Today, we’re blessed with sleek layers that move when we move and don’t impede our swings. No company is doing this better than Sunice.

The Allendale thermal pullover is an excellent example of fashion meeting function. With a close-cut fit and soft, stretch fabric, the Allendale is the ideal piece of layering - both on and off the course. 

Feel free to shed it once the temperatures rise, but you won’t look as good as you do wearing it. Over a golf shirt and under a jacket, the Allendale will keep you warm, while still breathing.

Function is complete. Swing freely, as if you’re not wearing this layer at all. Fashion? It’ll be the best-looking layer on the course, on the slopes or at the mall. This is not your father’s golf pullover. 

Interested in some industry jargon? The Allendale has contrast flatlock stitching, decorative tape framing and a laser-cut welded right chest pocket. Add it all up and you’re looking great.

Check out the Allendale and other apparel at

Monday, December 21, 2015

President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA to Join PGATSS Parent Company

Stephen Cannon Named Chief Executive Officer of AMB Group

(ATLANTA, GA) – AMB Group, LLC, Chairman Arthur M. Blank announced today that Stephen Cannon, currently the president and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz USA, has been named chief executive officer of AMB Group, LLC, and will assume day-to-day leadership of the company’s for-profit businesses on February 1, 2016. Blank will continue in his role as chairman and owner, working closely with Cannon on overall strategy for the Blank Family of Businesses.

Cannon will lead all business operations of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, the developer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

Rich McKay, president of AMB Sports & Entertainment; Darren Eales, president of Atlanta United FC; Dick Sullivan, president and CEO of PGA TOUR Superstore; and Yancey Arterburn, general manager of Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, will all report directly to Cannon upon his arrival. Cannon will also assume strategic and operational leadership of AMB Group’s shared services teams with the functional leaders of human resources; information technology; legal and business affairs; and communications that each serve the portfolio of businesses reporting to him as well.

Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation President Penny McPhee; Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff; the AMB Group Finance & Investments department led by David Homrich; and the family office administrative staff will continue to report directly to Blank.

“Steve is a dynamic leader with a value system and ethic that aligns very well with mine, which is important to ensuring our culture and values continue to thrive in a fast-paced, growing environment,” said Blank. “He is a proven, results-driven executive who understands how to build and deliver a premium customer experience. That, along with his high-energy approach and experience will translate very well to all of our businesses. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a leader of Steve’s stature take on this very important role moving forward.”

Blank noted the hiring of Cannon fulfills his desire to step back from day-to-day operations of his businesses.  “While I will always be heavily involved in our business strategies, I now feel that the best role I can play in our businesses is one of founder, chairman and most senior cheerleader,” Blank said.  “I have a strong desire to spend more quality time with my family, as well as to concentrate more of my time on our philanthropic endeavors, and Steve’s hiring will allow me to do those things.”

Cannon has served as president and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) since 2012 and is currently responsible for leading operations that have generated record sales with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion. During his tenure MBUSA achieved its first-ever No. 1 ranking on the American Customer Satisfaction Index and has also been lauded as one of the best places to work by Fortune Magazine five years in a row. Cannon is also credited with overseeing MBUSA’s successful headquarters relocation from New Jersey to the metro Atlanta area, as well as crafting a sports sponsorship strategy that closely aligned the premium brand with properties reflective of its category leadership and brand position.

“This is a truly special opportunity for me to move from an iconic brand that I love to a role working with an iconic leader and the diversified Blank Family of Businesses,” said Cannon. “I made an immediate connection with Arthur because we have very similar value systems and a shared vison for what the customer experience can and should be. I look forward to working closely with the leaders within AMB Group and across the individual businesses to drive growth and deliver even greater value to the fans, customers, partners and communities that we serve.”

Cannon graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point (B.S., Economics) before serving for five years in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer, mostly in Germany. After concluding his service in 1991, Cannon began his civilian career as an executive assistant to the president and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz North America. In succeeding years he took on increasing marketing and business development roles within Mercedes-Benz before departing the company in 2000 for positions with consultancies largely serving the auto industry. Cannon was a principal at The Richards Group beginning in 2002 where he managed the agency’s largest and most profitable account until rejoining MBUSA in 2007 as chief marketing officer, a position he held until becoming CEO in 2012.

Cannon and his wife, Ann, reside in Atlanta and they are the parents of nine children.

Product Review: Cleveland Golf TFI 2135 Putter

I’ve read a lot of golf-related New Year’s resolutions lately. A close second to the “play more golf” statement is “make more putts.” Assuming your woes aren’t user error (clears throat sarcastically), you’re going to want a new putter. Check out the TFI (True Feel Innovation) 2135 from Cleveland Golf.

What’s so different about this putter? The raised alignment line helps regardless of where your eyes are in relation to the ball. Traditional blades have the alignment marking on the base of the putter, which is great if your eyes are directly over the ball. The marking on the 2135, however, fits the eye of golfers who are also inside or outside of the ball.

This concept may be confusing to some golfers who don’t delve into the technical side of the game. Pretend you’re lining up for a putt. Hold a ball at your eye and drop it. Your eye is directly over the spot where your ball lands - the ideal place in which to line up. That said, many of us line up closer to or farther from the ball than what’s “ideal.” That’s fine if you’re a feel putter, but if you’re relying on the alignment marking on your current putter, you may be missing the putter’s sweet spot and mishitting putts because of it.

During one of my worst bouts of bad putting, I tried to self-correct by moving closer to the ball. My thought was to use my feet as guides for the stroke. Unfortunately, moving so close to the ball put my eyes outside the ideal angle and caused even more issues. My stroke may have improved, but my contact and consistency suffered.

As for the 2135‘s face ... a milled copper infused face cap over a copolymer insert provides terrific feel.

Bottom line: Setting up perfectly is nearly impossible. Cleveland Golf’s alignment technology will help you to correctly align your putt no matter your set-up. As they say, “There are too many things to worry about when you're trying to putt to win the hole or save par. Alignment doesn't have to be one of them.”

Excellent feel and proper alignment are two major keys in making more putts. The TFI 2135 from Cleveland Golf provides both.

Find out more about the 2135 at

Golf Digest Ranks Troon Affiliated Instructors Among Best in United States

(Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Troon, the leader in upscale golf course management, development, and marketing is pleased to announce that Golf Digest recently named 11 golf instructors at Troon affiliated properties among the best teachers in the United States.

The biennial accolade ranked golf instructors in every state across the country using a ballot system, asking instructors to rank their own peers. As a result, instructors named among Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 list of the “Best Teachers in your State” include:
No. 6 Mike Labauve, The Westin Kierland Golf Club, Scottsdale
No. 11 Sandy Labauve, The Westin Kierland Golf Club, Scottsdale
No. 13 Tim Mahoney, The Westin Kierland Golf Club, Scottsdale
No. 8  Kip Puterbaugh, Aviara Golf Club, Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad
No. 27 Bob Knee, Aviara Golf Club, Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad
No. 39 Jamie Puterbaugh, Aviara Golf Club, Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad
No. 46 Jason Puterbaugh, Aviara Golf Club, Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad
No. 8 Derek Hooper, Lake of Isles, Troon Golf Academy, North Stonington
No. 2 Ben Hongo, Kapalua Golf Academy, Maui
No. 4 Greg Fields, Kapalua Golf Academy, Maui
No. 3 Skip Maiwald, Ironhorse Golf Club, Leawood
No. 1 Doug Roberts, Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club, St. George

“We congratulate each of these instructors for achieving this highly regarded Golf Digest accolade,” stated John Easterbrook, executive vice president, operations, Troon. “The dedication and invested interest they take in seeing their students improve, plays a major role in driving the game forward.”

For additional news and information, visit

Nike Golf Athlete Miguel Tabuena Persevered to Claim His First Asian Tour Title

(Beaverton, Ore.) - Nike Golf athlete Miguel Tabuena maintained his focus and clinched his first Asian Tour title at the Philippine Open becoming the first Filipino to win his National Open since 2008. The 21-year-old’s victory brings to 10 the number of professional wins by Nike athletes around the world.

Tabuena, who’s come close to victory on several occasions on the Asian Tour, provided an impressive back nine performance having made six birdies en route to a six-under-par round of 66 and a one-stroke victory.

“I’m glad the Philippine Open is my first Asian Tour title,” said Tabuena. “I’m really happy that my name will be on this prestigious trophy alongside some of the legends in golf in Asia’s oldest National Open.”

Helping him to his first win was the combination of Tabuena’s Nike Vapor Pro Driver and Nike RZN Platinum golf ball.  He also sported Nike Golf apparel and the Nike Lunar Control 3 shoe.

Tabuena’s Nike Golf Arsenal
· Driver: Nike Vapor Pro
· Fairway Wood: Nike Vapor Speed 3-wood/13-degree, Nike Vapor Speed 5-wood/18-degree
· Irons: Nike Vapor Pro Combo (3-6), Vapor Pro (7-PW)
· Wedges: Nike VR Forged 53-degree, 60-degree
· Putter: Nike Method 001 Prototype
· Ball: Nike RZN Platinum
· Apparel: Nike Performance
· Footwear: Nike Lunar Control 3

Nike Golf’s 2015 International Victories
· Miguel Tabuena – Philippine Open (Asian Tour)
· Charl Schwartzel – Alfred Dunhill Championship (European Tour)
· Thorbjorn Olesen – Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (European Tour)
· Rory McIlroy – DP World Tour Championship (European Tour)
· Rory McIlroy – Omega Dubai Desert Classic (European Tour)

Nike Golf’s 2015 PGA Tour Victories
· Rory McIlroy – Wells Fargo Championship
· Rory McIlroy – WGC – Cadillac Match Play

Nike Golf’s 2015 Tour Victories
· Abraham Ancer – Novia Scotia Open
· Patrick Rodgers – Pacific Rubialis Columbia Championship

Nike Golf’s 2015 LPGA Tour Victories
· Suzann Pettersen – Manulife LPGA Classic

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nike Golf Releases the Vapor Fly Hybrid

The new Vapor Fly series, designed to provide an overall higher launch angle, is the culmination of years of work from the teams at The Oven

(RELEASE) - The Oven, Nike Golf’s research and design facility in Fort Worth, Texas, is the engine that drives Nike Golf equipment innovation. With a perfect combination of authentic handcraftsmanship and sophisticated high-tech virtual design, Nike Golf engineers and designers obsess over every tenth of a millimeter and every degree of launch angle.

The new Vapor Fly series clubs, designed to provide an overall higher launch angle, is the culmination of years of diligent study.

“As we’ve learned more and more about golf athletes while researching advanced materials and evolving manufacturing technologies, we’ve verified that if we can launch the ball higher, while managing spin, it will ultimately fly farther,” says Nate Radcliffe, Nike Golf Director of Engineering. “We’ve found ways to accomplish that in our entire 2016 line, from the drivers to the long irons. We are using innovative designs that consider mass distribution, tuned compliance and stiffness to help the ball consistently fly high and long.”

The Vapor Fly Hybrid was completely redesigned for 2016. Working with Nike athletes such as Francesco Molinari, Nike Golf engineers created a hybrid with a refined, tour-driven profile to maximize versatility and shot making.

Flightweight Crown features a 30 percent reduction in crown weight vs. last year’s model, resulting in a lower center of gravity and higher MOI for higher launch, less spin and more forgiveness.

New HyperFlight face is thinned out around the perimeter to produce extreme ball speed across the entire face for better performance on off-center hits.

Re-engineered Compression Channel enables springboard effect to amplify performance on mis-hits.

Available on January 22, 2016.
Available at select retailers January 29, 2016.

Nicklaus Returns to The Naples Beach Hotel & GC for Redesign Course on which he broke 40 at age 11

The Golden Bear will collaborate with John Sanford on renaissance of Southwest Florida icon

(RELEASE) - “And that was with a double bogey on the eighth hole.”

That is the occasional reminder offered by golf icon Jack Nicklaus, if you are someone collaborating on his account of that special day in history when the Golden Bear, then a cub of just 11 years old, broke 40 for the first time. It was 1951, on a family vacation to Naples and a friendly round of golf alongside his father Charlie Nicklaus. The backdrop was the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. Just a year after he picked up golf clubs for the first time, the man who would become the greatest champion in the game’s history not only broke 40, he came within a shot of shooting par with a 37.

“And that was with a double bogey on the eighth hole,” Nicklaus adds, referencing the scorecard now housed at the Jack Nicklaus Museum and the 6 he took on the par-4 eighth hole.

Jack Nicklaus is helping celebrate his past and that of The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club by reshaping the future of this iconic golf course in Southwest Florida. The AAA Four-Diamond resort will renovate and redesign its championship golf course in 2016. The Jack Nicklaus Redesign is being done in collaboration with John Sanford, the noted course architect who also contributed to Nicklaus’ award-winning Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in The Bronx, NY.

“Being back to Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club is like a walk down memory lane for me,” Nicklaus said. “My father and I shared a very special relationship. He was not only my father, but my mentor and best friend. So returning to the same course where I broke 40, with my father by my side, brings back a lot of very special and very fond memories for me. At the same time, I am enjoying the opportunity to work with John on this rebirth, if you will, of a wonderful layout. I think we have some great ideas and people will be excited about the end product.”

According to Henry B. Watkins III, co-owner of the 125-acre resort, the current course will remain open until April 10, 2016, with construction on the redesign to begin on April 11, 2016. The anticipated reopening of the course is late fall 2016.

A consistent recipient of many of the industry’s top honors, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is Southwest Florida’s only beachfront resort with an on-site championship golf course, world-class spa, and award-winning tennis center.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2016, the resort is in the midst of an ongoing enhancement of its many offerings. This major project follows $50 million in impressive renovations and enhancements completed at the resort over the last few years. This includes the replacement of the brick balconies in its main Tower Building with beautiful glass balconies; the renovation of the resort’s 319 guest rooms and suites; and the opening of the new Everglades Room ballroom. In addition, the resort completely renovated its Gulf-side meeting rooms; expanded and renovated its popular The Sunset Beach Bar & Grill; and added a beautiful new beachfront pool complex, with two pools, two whirlpools, and a pool bar with food service.

The golf course at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club brings together two designers who just a year ago celebrated the completion of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Even before it officially opened in April 2015, Ferry Point was being lauded for its links-style design and views of the New York Skyline. Recently, Ferry Point was named to Golf Digest's Best New Courses 2015 and by GOLF Magazine as the Best New Course You Can Play.

“We are very excited to announce a dramatic and complete renovation and redesign of our championship 18-hole golf course,” said Henry B. Watkins III, whose family has owned and operated the resort for three generations. “The redesign is a unique collaboration between the very talented John Sanford and Jack Nicklaus, who is not only the greatest player of all time but one of history’s most celebrated designers. The totally new, par-71 routing plan will consist of five tees, ranging from 4,800 yards to over 6,900 yards. In addition, we have incorporated a 300-yard practice and teaching range. Our guests and golfers will absolutely love the truly beautiful new look of the course.

“The completion of this renovation will bring our golf course in line with the rest of our AAA Four-Diamond resort and enhance the overall guest experience. The added bonus of having Mr. Nicklaus collaborate on the redesign of the course on which he first broke 40 for nine holes is wonderful and further enriches the deep history of our property.”

Rich in hospitality and tradition, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has resided in Naples since 1946. The resort features 1,000 feet of soft white-sand beach; the 18-hole championship golf course; a world-class spa; the fitness center; the Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center, with six Har-Tru courts; Beach Kids Club, with a complimentary daily recreational program for children ages five to 12; an Orchid House, home to over 3,000 tropical plants; retail shops; and beach rentals.

A recent recipient of Successful Meetings’ acclaimed Pinnacle Award for 2015 and Meetings Focus’ 2015 Best of the South Award, the resort also offers 34,000 square feet of meeting space and a variety of picturesque outdoor venues for receptions and events.

In addition, the resort features multiple restaurants and lounges. This includes the signature beachfront restaurant HB’s on the Gulf; Broadwell’s, providing panoramic views of the golf course; and the Seminole Store, which serves deli sandwiches, ice cream, gourmet coffees and a variety of freshly baked pizza, pastries and desserts in a café atmosphere. The Sunset Beach Bar & Grill has been recognized as the “Best Place to View a Southwest Florida Sunset,” and was named “Naples’ Best Beach Bar” by Travel Channel.

Guest rooms and suites feature cool tropical color linens, fabrics and carpeting; flat-panel televisions; patio or balcony (with a view of the Gulf, golf course, or the lush resort interior); coffee maker; and refrigerator.

Situated just blocks from Naples’ renowned shopping districts of fashionable 5th Avenue South and historic 3rd Street South, the resort is also within minutes of shopping at Venetian Village, Waterside Shops, Bayfront and Tin City.

Providing a comfortable, friendly atmosphere, the resort is an exceptional tropical getaway. Guests always benefit from no resort fees, complimentary self-parking and valet parking, and complimentary access to the resort’s fitness center. The resort is located at 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North in Naples, Florida. For more information, contact the resort at (800) 237-7600 or (239) 261-2222, or visit

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Island Resort & Casino’s Sweetgrass Golf Club Rated a 'Best U.S. Casino Course'

(HARRIS, Michigan) – Sweetgrass Golf Club – an amenity of Island Resort & Casino here in the bucolic Upper Peninsula – was rated one of the nation’s finest in Golfweek’s “2015 America’s Best Casino Courses,” an annual compendium published last week and accessible via

Sweetgrass and Island Resort & Casino are owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, a band of the Potawatomi. The course was designed by golf architect Paul Albanese of Albanese & Lutzke.
Hundreds of Golfweek raters examine overall strength of routing, feature shaping, natural setting, greens, variety and memorability of holes, conditioning and maintenance, landscape management and other criteria to determine the nation’s best courses.

“We targeted earning these types of accolades when we decided to build Sweetgrass; we knew that many people find them credible, ‘best-in-kind’ judgments and therefore consult them when determining where they want to play,” said Island Resort and Casino General Manager Tony Mancilla. “We’re gratified to be included in this list, and we’re committed to providing our visitors and guests with the best experiences possible.”

Sweetgrass has previously received best-of honors from GOLF and Golf Digest magazines; this latest superlative distinction comes one week after the resort and tribe announced it was building a second course, also designed by Albanese, planned to debut in 2017.

Like with Sweetgrass, the tribe and resort have instructed Albanese to design the as-yet unnamed course with the objective to be instantly considered for critical acclaim.

“I’ve said this before, one course is a course, two is a destination; we want Island Resort & Casino to be known as the home of two of the finest courses in North America,” said Mancilla.

For additional information: or call 877-ISL-GREEN.

Audubon Park Golf Club Recertified as Signature Sanctuary

Audubon Park Golf Club has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources

(New Orleans, LA) - Audubon International announces that Audubon Park Golf Club has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources and has been awarded recertification as a Certified Signature Sanctuary. Audubon Park Golf Club, designed by Dennis Griffiths, is the only golf course certified through the Audubon International Signature Program in Louisiana. The golf course opened in October 2002 and was certified as a Silver Signature Sanctuary on July 22, 2004.

To become recertified, Signature Program members must demonstrate their continued commitment to the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management as outlined in their site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP). This plan addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and the adoption of green building products and procedures.

Using an infill location that had been disturbed by a previous golf course project, Audubon International and Audubon Nature Institute worked cooperatively on 80 acres near the historic Garden District of New Orleans to restore habitat and to provide a cohesive educational program aimed at golfers, area residents, and park users.

“The challenge initially was to improve connections throughout the property to isolated wildlife habitat patches and lakes and to increase the vegetation diversity in these patches and corridors,” said Nancy Richardson, Signature Program Director for Audubon International, during the required staff visit to the property. “Today, the interaction of patrons, walkers, and joggers with the course provides an opportunity for education about those natural systems on the property.”

The golf course is circled by a paved pedestrian and bike path. This path is shaded by huge live oak trees with wide, sweeping canopies which, in some cases, extend to the ground. The golf course is part of the Audubon Park complex which also includes the Audubon Zoo and other public park land.

With 80 percent of the property remaining as open space, habitat preserves on the course include a lagoon, large oak patches, and oaks that line the jogging/walking path. Along the northern and eastern periphery, the thirteen acre lagoon was excavated as part of Olmstead’s original plan for Audubon Park in the early 1900’s. Hurst Walkway, a pedestrian walkway through the middle of the golf course from east to west, continues to be used by walkers.

Audubon Park has a long history of importance in the local community. The park was the site of the 1884 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. The main building of the World’s Fair included almost 32 aces under its roof, covering holes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the current golf course. The bricks along the lake near the ninth hole are remnants of the building foundation.

Following the site review, Will Guererri, golf course superintendent, stated: “The Audubon International Signature Program is a great program to hold industry leaders to a responsible and ethical standard that, in my mind, all facilities should participate in. From wildlife management to water conservation, our facility has further improved the quality of our guest experience and encouraged myself and our staff to fulfill our responsibility as an Audubon signature facility.”

To learn more about Audubon Park Golf Club, go to

Friday, December 18, 2015

87 Swing Thought Tour past, current players gain status at the 2016 Tour Q School

Swing Thought Tour - Celebrating nearly 30 years of Developing Champions

(Myrtle Beach, SC) – One hundred fifty two players recently competed in the grueling final stage of the Tour Q School, hosted in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with the Top 45 and ties earning full exempt status on the 2016 Tour. Eighty Seven (87) current or past players of the Swing Thought Tour Series system (former NGA/Hooters and eGolf Tours) earned varying levels of status on the Tour through the Q School process.  After the multi course competition, 32 Swing Thought Tour current or past players and champions were among those tied for 45th and lower earning full exempt status onto the Tour for the beginning of the 2016 season.

2015 Swing Thought Tour multi Championship winner Adam Svensson (Barry University) earned Medalist Honors for the final stage of Q school. Svensson started his 2015 season on the Swing Thought Tour by winning three of his first four starts, earning back to back to back victories. Overall it was a great week for the Swing Thought Tour Series system players.  Past and current players earning full exempt status were  Adam Sevensson (medalist), Jason Millard (T2) Mid Tn St., Dominic Bozzelli (4) Auburn, Ryan Brehm (T5) Michigan St, Wesley Bryan (T9) USC, Matt Harmon (T9) Michigan St, Reid Edstrom (T9) Auburn U, Matt Atkins (T14) USC Aiken, Taylor Pendrith (T14) Kent St, Albin Choi (T14) NC St , Michael Letzig (T14) U of New Mexico, Benjamin Silverman (T14) Fl Atlantic, Jesse Speirs (T14) U Miss, Daniel Mazziotta (T21) Fl Gulf Coast U, Roberto Diaz (T21) USC Aiken, Jimmy Gunn (T21) , Jonathan Randolph (T21) U Miss, Mackenzie Hughes (T21) Kent St, Russell Surber (T21) U Texas , Chas Narramore (T21) Mid Tn St, Doug Letson (T34) Fl St U, Anthony Broussard (T34) U of North Texas, Mark Silvers (T34) USC, Jim Renner (T34) Johnson & Wales, Chris Naegel (T34) Missouri Baptist, Richy Werenski (T34) Ga Tech, Chris Wilson (T34) Northwestern, Anders Albertson (T34) Ga Tech, Kyle Scott (T45) Ga Tech, Michael Hebert (T45) Auburn, Steven Fox (T45)  UT-Chattanooga , Steve LeBrun (T45) Fl Atlantic.

Players finishing 46 and higher earn conditional status and are offered varying opportunities to compete throughout the season. The closer a players number is to 45 from the Q school finals the more chance he has of getting into earlier events. Players are reshuffled throughout the season, based on earnings, which also affords players more playing opportunities. Of the Eighty Seven (87) Swing Thought Tour players who competed, 55 earned conditional status.  They are Brian Campbell (T51), Drew Weaver (T51), Vince India (T51), Blake Olson (T51), TJ Vogel (T51), Chris Baker (T51), Brian Richey (T58), Carlos Sainz Jr (T58), Chad Ramey (T58), Kent Bulle (T58), Curtis Reed (T67), Chris Thompson (T67), Tommy Cocha (T67), Brad Brunner (T67), Mike Van Sickle (T74), Jay Woodson (T74),  Hunter Hamrick (T74), Grayson Murray (74), Justin Hueber (T79), Mark Blakefield (T79), Zach Sucher (T79), Alex Moon (T79), Rick Lamb (T79), Jared Wolfe (T79), Wil Bateman (T79), Can Burke (T93), Jhared Hack (T93), Santiago Rivas (T93), Austin Quick (T93), Hunter Haas (T93), Talor Gooch (T93), Jeff Karlsson (T106), Kramer Hickok (T108), Keith Mitchell (T108), Scott Gutschewski (T108), JC Horne (T108), Lincoln Tighe (T114), Nick Flanagan (T114), David Skinns (T114), Connor Arendell (T114), Ethan Tracy (T123), TJ Howe (T123), Matt McQuillan (T123), Clayton Rask (T123), Vince Covello (T133), Chris Worrell (136), Devin Carrey (T137), Sam Ryder (T137), Mark Anderson (T141), Jesse Smith (T143), Blake Palmer (T143), Lucas Kim (T145), TJ Mitchell (T147), Chris Ross (152), Scott Parel. We wish all players a very successful 2016 season.

To register for a 2016 Membership or for more information, visit or call 800-992-8748. Follow on Twitter @SwingThought and on Facebook at

Key Golf Works with Tom Lehman to Complete Renovation of Gold Course at Wigwam Resort

(LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ) – When principals at Key Golf Management got the call in June to refurbish bunkers on the Gold Course at Wigwam Resort near Phoenix, they were happy to take on the job. They had done renovation work for General Manager Leo Simonetta at Wigwam before, and they were pleased to put their exclusive bunker liner called, Linebacker, to use.

By the time the project was completed in mid-September, however, the Key Golf team had gone from happy to ecstatic. The bunker renovation and Linebacker installation project had turned into more of a course renovation project, thanks to the efforts of PGA Champions Tour player and golf course architect Tom Lehman. And Key Golf was thrilled to work side by side with Lehman.

“While our Linebacker bunker renovation was the main focus of the project, it became more of a redefining effort,” said Kip Wolfe, Vice President of Key Golf, (a golf course care and maintenance company based in Las Vegas.) “Tom’s vision led to some new fairway lines, with re-positioning of some bunkers and the filling in of other bunkers. In the end the work gave the course an entirely new look.”

The Gold Course is the crown jewel among the three courses at Wigwam. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. design opened in 1965 and immediately received numerous regional and national accolades.

“The Gold Course at one time was known as one of the best courses in the country, and it still has the bones to be that,” said Lehman, who started Lehman Design Group in 1996. “Golf has passed it by a little technology wise and maybe design wise. We’re trying to take it back to the original feel; to give it a little variety and a different look.”

Most architects would do this from a drafting table, pencil and triangle scale in hand, reviewing site drawings and creating a blueprint for the job. Lehman used more familiar tools of his trade.

“He’s more of a visionary architect vs. someone who makes the drawings and contour lines,” said Wolfe. “His only drawings were an occasional sketch on a cardboard top off a paint box. He hit endless golf shots so he could see where he wanted the bunkers and rough lines. We’ve never worked with an architect that spent that much time making sure it was done right from the field. His passion was obvious, and it showed in the final product.”

Before the renovation project began, there were 89 bunkers on the Gold Course. Many were filled in, several were moved and nearly all the remaining 38 were reshaped and refurbished with new Linebacker liners helping to eliminate previous drainage issues.

“Sometimes bunkers get put in simply because they look good in that position,” said Lehman. “We tried to eliminate all the unnecessary ones and use the bunkers in a way so that they mean something and become really significant strategically.

“We changed the fairway lines so they don’t have a straight bowling alley type feel. Fairway lines should pinch in at certain points and get wider in other areas. It all fits together and provides a better look.”  

While many of the greenside bunkers were moved and re-shaped, the greens themselves were untouched.

“The greens are the No. 1 defense this course has so we left them totally alone,” said Lehman. “We tried to enhance and build around the greens and what they have to offer. The idea was to leave Robert Trent Jones’ intent intact.”

The project started in early July and the course reopened in mid-September. Reviews have been very positive.

“Everybody is absolutely in love with the final product,” said GM Simonetta. “I’m not a very good bunker player but I’m like Gary Player, always managing ways to get out of these things. We’ve received a lot of good accolades from our members and others who have played it.”

Simonetta was also pleased from a business standpoint. Despite the fact that Lehman was in the U.K. during the early stages of the work competing in the British Open and Senior British Open, the work was completed on time and within budget. He now has a new-look course that saves on maintenance costs.

“We constantly communicated with Tom while he was away and got through it,” said Wolfe. “Everyone seems thrilled with the work.”

The first big test for the new-look Gold Course comes Dec. 29-31 when Wigwam hosts the annual Patriot All-America. A field of 84 top collegiate players named to the PING All-America team, one player from each military academy and select international players compete in a 54-hole championship. Each player honors the military by carrying a bag with the name, rank and service of a fallen or severely wounded soldier embroidered on the pocket. Following the championship, the bags go to the players’ school for auction, with proceeds benefiting the Folds of Honor.

“The No. 1 complaint about the course in the past has been the bunkers,” said Wolfe. “It will be interesting to see what the players have to say about the course now that the work is complete.”

For more information, visit, or call 702-629-7524.

CURE Classic Series Putters Now Available in Select PGA Tour Superstore Locations

(Flagler Beach, FL) - Cure Putters "The Fastest Growing Putter on the Champions Tour" announced that its new cx1 and cx2 Classic Series putters are now available in PGA Tour Superstores in all of the Florida and Georgia locations as well as the Scottsdale and North Scottsdale stores in Arizona. Cure's owners and representatives spent last week personally visiting each store, setting up the displays and training the staff on the features and benefits of the Classic Series line.

The Classic Series putters are prominently displayed on the putting green in all eight stores alongside a custom Cure Putters Staff Bag and free standing display.

"We are thrilled to have PGA Tour Superstores carrying our putters and look forward to working together going forward. We've got a fantastic line of putters and great displays in each of these stores - We are very excited that PGA Tour Superstore customers will now be able to test Cure Putters against the competition and see for themselves that our higher MOI design is a game changer!" said Jim McCarthy, CEO of Cure Putters.

Cure Putters has led the industry in delivering the Highest Moment of Inertia (MOI) in putters since launching in 2014; the new Classic Series delivers the incredible stability and forgiveness of a High MOI mallet in a visually stunning, traditional blade style putter. It's the best of both worlds.

The Classic Series includes two new models: the cx1, a square back blade; and the cx2, a round back blade. These 100% CNC Milled aluminum putters are slightly oversized (5" blade length) with tungsten weight inserts in the heel and toe, plus 42g of weight adjustability via 6 removable weights, providing a simple, traditional look at address, with twice the MOI (stability & forgiveness) of a typical blade!

The cx1 has an adjustable weight range from 334 to 376 grams; with MOI ranging from 6,400 to 7,200 g/cm2. The cx2 can be adjusted from 342 to 384 grams; with MOI ranging from 6,550 to 7,350 g/cm2. Both models are offered in an anodized black or platinum finish.

For more information, visit and

Little People's, Little Linksters Form Partnership

(Quincy, IL) - The Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships announced a partnership with Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development and their Annual Best “Pee Wee” Golf Swing video contest.

The winner in each of the four age divisions, Under 3, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8, will receive paid entry fee into the 2016 Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, to be held June 20-22 in Quincy, Illinois.  Winners are responsible for all other expenses, and Little Linksters will cover entry fee.

Little People’s is pleased to invite all members of Little Linksters to compete in the 2016 Little People’s Golf Championships. Entry forms will be available on the website on February 1, 2016.

Little People’s is an international junior golf event for boys and girls ages three through 18. The 43rd annual tournament will be played June 20-22 at two golf courses in Quincy, Illinois, USA, with an optional 9-hole Parent-Child tournament on Father’s Day, June 19.

Boys and girls aged 3-5 play 5 holes daily at a yardage of 463.  Boys and girls 6-7 play 9 holes daily at a yardage of 954, while 8 year olds play 9 holes daily, boys at 2459 yards and girls at 1768 yards.

Trophies go to 1st through 3rd in all divisions, with participant medals to all non-trophy winners.  There are separate age divisions for Boys and for Girls.

For further information on the Pepsi Little People’s please contact Nan Ryan at and for information on Little Linksters, contact Brendon Elliott, PGA at

Golf Channel to Celebrate Tiger's 40th Birthday On-Air, Online with Dedicated Original Video, Content

Golf Central Special, “Tiger Turns 40,” Features Industry Roundtable Assessing Woods’ Ascent and Current Standing in Golf, Airing Dec. 30 at 6 p.m.

Brandel Chamblee on Woods vs. Nicklaus – “You’d Have to Give the Edge to Tiger Woods as the Greatest Player of All Time”

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – In celebration of 14-time major champion and former World No. 1 Tiger Woods’ 40th birthday (on Dec. 30), Golf Channel is dedicating a collection of video and editorial content scheduled to appear on-air, online and across the network’s social media platforms.

ON-AIR: On Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel will air a special hour-long Golf Central special titled, “Tiger Turns 40,” examining the impact Woods has made on the game. Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner will moderate the discussion, with a panel that includes Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, Golf Digest editor-in-chief Jaime Diaz, and Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte. During the course of the show, the panel debates the merits of Jack Nicklaus vs. Woods as the “best golfer of all time.” Chamblee favors Woods over Nicklaus due to his dominance over his competition, while Diaz favors Nicklaus and his record 18 major championships. Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman and Notah Begay also sit down for a segment on Begay’s relationship with Tiger (his college teammate at Stanford University), and the impact Earl Woods (Tiger’s father) had on molding the younger Woods into an eventual icon of the sport.

“I think it really does come down to two players in the history of this game,” Chamblee said.  “And I think that’s pretty clear between Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. And it should be said that longevity sanctifies an idea, a career, a relationship, a government. In that regard, Jack Nicklaus’ career was so long. [He] won major championships over 24 years, spanned three generations. But Tiger Woods dominated in a way that had never been done before, and will never be done again. So at least in my estimation, you’d have to give the edge to Tiger Woods as the greatest player of all time.”

EDITORIAL: The editorial team for is adding perspective to Woods’ 40th birthday through several columns focusing on the overall impact he’s left on the game, as well as an in-depth discussion on Woods’ career for a “Tiger Woods Turns 40” special podcast on

Mercer Baggs, managing editor of, pens a column trying to answer the question, “Who is Tiger Woods?” Baggs asserts, There aren’t five people who’ve meant more to the game than he has. Arguably no one. Someone of that import elicits great emotion from the public, beyond the boundaries of the game. Who he is, not just what he’s done, matters to a populous base. Maybe some can separate the man from the sport, and say that they don’t care what this person does in his personal life as long as he entertains. But there are others who cannot differentiate between the two.

Ryan Lavner, staff writer for, makes a case for why Woods remains one of the game’s most relevant figures, Even as his game becomes more curiosity than cultural obsession, even as the next generation of stars dominates the way he used to, Tiger Woods has remained the focal point of the sport by almost any metric. The Tiger Effect is alive and well as he approaches his 40th birthday – it just looks, sounds and feels different.

In a second column, Lavner details the impression Woods has made on golf’s young stars, In many ways, Woods made golf like other sports. He showed emotion. He electrified the crowd. He brought a new level of athleticism and intensity. The marketing team at Nike played an important role as well, transforming Woods from a nerdy, socially awkward college kid into a national icon. Without Woods’ influence, it’s fair to wonder whether Jordan Spieth would have played baseball like his father … or PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger would have played tennis like his dad … or Tony Finau would have played basketball like his cousin. Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Billy Horschel and Patrick Rodgers all likely could have pursued another sport besides golf, but they didn’t.

Rex Hoggard, senior writer for, predicts what the next phase of Woods’ career will look like, Woods’ 40th birthday has become a much more nuanced milestone. While there is no shortage of players who enjoyed success well into their 40s, few if any began the final decade of their careers with so many unanswered questions. Whatever comes next for Woods depends entirely on how his back responds to three surgeries in two years, but there is a litany of examples of players who were competitive at the highest levels well into their fourth decade.

SOCIAL MEDIA: and the network’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles will highlight a number of videos centered around the former World No.1, including the “Tiger Woods Turns 40” podcast, along with several videos from Golf Channel’s archives dating back to 1996 at the early onset of a Hall-of-Fame career. A Woods “through the years” photo gallery will be featured on Dec. 30 on Woods’ birthday, and the @GCTigerTracker handle also will be live tweeting with a special “Tiger 40” graphic.

The network’s coverage of Woods’ 40th will contribute to Golf Channel’s overall year-end programming, which began this week with a collection of Golf Central and Morning Drive specials dedicated to golf’s most memorable moments of 2015. The lineup of programming also will include Rickie Fowler’s unforgettable final round and playoff victory at THE PLAYERS (airing Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. ET), Jordan Spieth’s run at a Grand Slam, and the heroic comeback by the United States amidst controversy at the Solheim Cup (Saturday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. ET).

Thursday, Dec. 24 Nicklaus vs. Palmer (Pinehurst No. 2 – 1994)            6 p.m.
                              Couples vs. Els (Nicklaus North – 1998)                    7:30 p.m.
                              Nicklaus vs. Player (Sunningdale – 2000)                  9 p.m.
                              Azinger vs. Ballesteros (St. Andrews – 1995)            10:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 25     Els vs. Price (Leopard Creek – 1999)                         Midnight
                              Player vs. Trevino (World Golf Village – 1998)         1:30 a.m.
                              Duval vs. Els (Cherokee Plantation – 2000)               3 a.m.
                              Nicklaus vs. Trevino (Cabo del Sol – 1996)               4:30 a.m.
                              DeVicenzo vs. Snead (Congressional – 1968)            6 a.m.
                              Palmer vs. Boros (Cotton Bay Club – 1968)              7 a.m.
                              Palmer/Rodriguez/ Brewer (El Conquistador – 1969)  8 a.m.
                              Player vs. Thomson (Royal Melbourne – 1962)          9 a.m.
                              Sarazen vs. Cotton (St. Andrews – 1962)                  10 a.m.
                              Nelson vs. Littler (Pine Valley – 1962)                      11 a.m.
                              Mickelson vs. Montgomerie (Cordillera – 1997)        Noon
                              Nicklaus vs. Watson (Pebble Beach – 1995)              1:30 p.m.
                              Couples vs. Mickelson (Gaillardia – 2000)                 3 p.m.
                              Palmer vs. Player (Manele – 1996)                             4:30 p.m.
                              Faldo vs. Norman (Sunningdale – 1994)                    6 p.m.
                              Couples vs. Daly (Crosswater Club – 1999)               7:30 p.m.
                              Garcia vs. Mickelson (Querencia – 2001)                   9 p.m.
                              Couples vs. Watson (Mount Juliet – 1997)                 10:30 p.m.

Kentwool Continues Expansion with the Launch of the Henry Sweater Vest

Makers of the “World’s Best Golf Sock” Unveils The World’s Most Comfortable Sweater Vest

GREENVILLE, S.C. — KENTWOOL, maker of the “World’s Best Golf Sock,” has begun offering its unparalleled, luxurious Merino wool comfort and performance in a new line of men’s sweater vests. By combining the technological advantages of 3-D knitting with the performance of superfine Merino wool, KENTWOOL’s new Henry Vest redefines the sweater vest. 3-D knitting is a new technique that creates shaped knitted panels, cutting down on waste while also eliminating seams in the garment. The result is a better fitting vest and enhanced mobility on the course.

The Henry Vest is constructed of Supersoft 19.5 micron Merino wool for an unrivaled hand-feel. Utilizing a 3-ply yarn for greater weight, durability and resistance to pilling the Henry offers golfers incredible versatility.  In addition, the Henry provides shifted side seams for reduced motion restriction, an added benefit on or off the course.  The garment’s comfort-enhancing features are finished off with Pointelle mesh side panels for maximum breathability.    

“We like to think of the Henry as your new, old favorite,” said Dan Murphy, president at KENTWOOL. “The Henry does a wonderful job of integrating all the traditional things golfers love about a sweater vest.  With a modern look, superior comfort and incredible performance, it’s the best performing vest you’ll ever wear.”

KENTWOOL’s new Henry vest comes in Black, Charcoal, KENT Blue, Light Grey and Navy color options and is available in sizes M-XXL.  The Henry Vest features a retail price of $160 and is available for purchase now at

For more information on the KENTWOOL brand, visit

Lamkin Introduces New SINK Putter Grips

Unique New Design and Materials Provide a Revolutionary Putting Experience

(SAN DIEGO, CA) – Lamkin Corporation – the original manufacturer of premium golf grips – announces the launch of its new SINK putter grips, designed with innovative shapes, a proprietary lightweight rubber compound, and functional surface textures to promote greater accuracy, consistency and confidence.

Available at, SINK models come in two distinct shapes, both of which include a curved-handle profile designed to encourage proper wrist alignment for a more fluid putting stroke.  Both SINK shapes are available in 11 and 13 inch lengths.

• The rounded grip (RND), offered in a blue-green color scheme, features a wider, straighter profile ideal for minimizing excessive hand action and creating a smoother, pendulum-like putting stroke.
• The squared grip (SQD), with orange and yellow accents, is ideal for feel-based putters and features a thinner shape with more pronounced corners.  The result is a unique putter grip that offers exceptional feedback and putting control.

A key feature of the SINK line is the integration of a first-of-its-kind, lightweight rubber developed by Lamkin chemists specifically for the putter grips. The material is 29 to 35 percent lighter than traditional rubber and enables golfers to enjoy the performance benefits of grips with larger shapes and lengths without sacrificing the consistent, durable and all-weather performance of traditional rubber.

“For the SINK grips, our engineers and product development team worked diligently to perfect the final shapes of both models and to find a way to combine the new, exclusive lightweight rubber compound with a highly useful surface pattern,” says Bob Lamkin, President and CEO of Lamkin. “Ultimately, we have created an assortment of putter grips that will enhance the short game performance of any golfer, from a seasoned Tour professional to the casual golfer.”

SINK putter grips also include multiple surface textures, including a micro-webbed diamond pattern and traditional deep-etched lines, offering an optimal level of slip-free grip traction. The carefully placed smooth ovals on the front of the grips provide golfers with an effective hand position reference to promote improved putting consistency and confidence.

Offering the widest assortment of performance-enhancing golf grips, Lamkin has been an industry leader for 90 years. In addition to the legendary Arnold Palmer, the company’s famed products are preferred by PGA Tour superstars Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Miguel Angel Jimenez and many others.

Lamkin grips are unrivaled in quality thanks to world-class engineering, premium materials and handcrafted, repeatable production techniques. Other Lamkin grip offerings include the new Wrap-Tech and UTx Wrap models, as well as the iconic Crossline, the popular R.E.L ACE 3-Gen, and the Tour Van options designed according to Tour player specifications.

More information: or 800-642-7755. Get social: @LamkinGrips.

Five Mississippi Casino Golf Courses Earn National Honors

(JACKSON, Mississippi) – Fallen Oak, The Preserve, Grand Bear and Dancing Rabbit’s two courses – Oaks and Azaleas – earned distinction via Golfweek’s “America’s Best Casino Courses” compilation, the 2015 version of which was published last week.

Hundreds of Golfweek raters examine overall strength of routing, feature shaping, natural setting, greens, variety and memorability of holes, conditioning and maintenance, landscape management and other criteria to determine the nation’s best courses.

“Our casino resorts substantially invested in making their golf amenities exceptional,” said Visit Mississippi Golf & Sports Program Manager Janet Leach. “It’s gratifying for these courses to be cited for national distinction and for the state to have so many courses included.”

Fallen Oak (No. 2 ranking) is an amenity of Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, the ingenious Tom Fazio-designed layout that is both brawny yet requires finesse and discretion from players.  Located in Saucier and accessible to guests of the award-winning property, it is the host venue of the PGA Champions Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, held in late March each year.  Fallen Oak is known for its immaculate condition, pristine setting and superlative greens. Beau Rivage is an MGM Resorts International property and ranked only behind sister MGM Resorts course Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

The Preserve Golf Club in Vancleave made one of the largest leaps in this year’s list, jumping eight spots to No. 11.  Look for this course – designed by U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate – to crack the top 10 in 2016.  Like Fallen Oak, The Preserve is in the Gulf Coast region and an amenity of Palace Resort Casino. Its name pays homage to the course’s location adjacent to a 1,800-acre nature preserve.  True to its namesake spirit, The Preserve is a Certified Silver Audubon International Signature Sanctuary course, one of very few in the world to receive this prestigious best-conservation-practices designation.

A Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, Grand Bear is grand in scope, vision and execution. The “Golden Bear,” as Nicklaus is legendarily known, took an amazing parcel of land and crafted a masterpiece that is as popular as it is finely serviced.  Carved out of the DeSoto National Forest, Grand Bear is “pure” golf, where nature and the game jive to create an inspired place. An amenity of Harrah's Gulf Coast Casino, Hotel and Spa, the course meanders through cypress wetlands and is framed by towering pines.

Nestled among the oak forests in the rolling hills of the state’s east central region, Dancing Rabbit Golf Club is an amenity of Pearl River Resort, owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Both the Azaleas and the Oaks courses earned best-of acclaim from Golfweek and were created by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate. The Oaks Course features Zoysia fairways and Champion Bermuda grass greens, while the Azaleas Course is Bermuda fairways and A4 Bent grass greens. GOLF Magazine tabbed Dancing Rabbit “the Augusta National you can play,” due to the similarities between it and the hallowed home course of The Masters.