Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Golf Pride Brand Wins Grip Count at the 146th Open Championship

(SOUTHERN PINES, N.C.) - Eaton announced that its Golf Pride Grips Division was the most used swing and putter grip brand played at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, in Southport, England.

The #1 Grip in Golf claimed 8 of the top 10 finishers.  In all, 129 players competing at the season’s third major trusted their games to Golf Pride grips. Of the players who relied on Golf Pride, 43 played the brand’s flagship MCC family of grips.

“At the Open Championship, weather changes in an instant, so it’s important that players have confidence their grips will stand up in all conditions,” said Brandon Sowell, global sales and marketing director for Golf Pride. “At Golf Pride our #1 goal is ensuring that a player’s only connection to their club, the grip, provides superior technology to ensure confidence in every swing.  We are extremely proud that the overwhelming majority of players chose Golf Pride, including the player who trusted our flagship MCC model while shooting the lowest round in major championship history with a blistering 62.”

Each week, Golf Pride is the leading grip played from tee-to-green on the PGA TOUR with an average of 80% of pros choosing Golf Pride swing grips in each event, without any paid endorsements.

For more information on Golf Pride’s entire 2017 product offering, visit http://www.golfpride.com.

Argolf Expands Distribution into Key Regional Retailers and Golf Clubs

(JUPITER, Florida) – Argolf USA (www.argofusa.com), a line of precision-designed putters, is expanding its Argolf dealer program throughout North America. With its latest tour victory – an Argolf Pendragon putter was used by the winner of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open – Argolf is gaining wide recognition among avid golfers and tour players around the world. More and more professionals and serious golfers are choosing to “feel the legend” as they put their Argolf putters into play.

As a result of increasing demand, Argolf USA is extending distribution into the following additional regional retailers:
• Fairmont Grand Del Mar (San Diego, California)
• Golf USA (Limerick, Pennsylvania)
• Golfdom (northern Virginia)
• HotStix (Fountain Hills, Arizona)
• Miles of Golf (Cincinnati and Ann Arbor locations)
• New York Golf Center (Herald Square and Grand Central locations)

“The Argolf dealer program is growing across the country,” said Olivier Colas, founder and CEO of Argolf. “Retailers are responding to golfers’ requests for Argolf putters, seeking the accuracy and consistency tour players on every level are enjoying with Argolf.”

The Argolf dealer program is a cooperative advertising campaign in which the Argolf sales team works in collaboration with the Argolf executive team.

Argolf USA recently opened the Argolf Putting Lab, in Jupiter, Fla., where golfers experience a custom fitting in consultation with an expert fitter who recommends the precise Argolf putter model for each player’s needs.

Rocco Mediate, a six-time PGA Tour winner who has won three times so far on the PGA Tour Champions, is a member of the Argolf professional staff, playing the Argolf Perceval putter.

Also, a number of players on the Symetra Tour (official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour) and the European Ladies PGA Tour, not to mention many skilled and rising junior players, are achieving success with Argolf putters.

In addition to many top regional retailers, an ever-increasing number of golf professionals are stocking Argolf putters in their shops and also competing successfully with Argolf putters in play. Exclusive clubs such as Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Fla.), Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (Southampton, NY) and The Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) have introduced Argolf putters into their shops.

For more information, see www.argolfusa.com.

Lacoste Sponsors the President's Cup Golf Tournament this September in New Jersey

(RELEASE) - Lacoste Underwear and Loungewear plays a starring role at the international competition. New performance styles will ensure that the players are cool and comfortable on the greens.

While the international sportswear brand Lacoste is the official clothing sponsor at the upcoming President's Cup this September - it's the items closest to the player's skin that will have a starring role.

New styles featuring Real Cool Cotton are available along with the Athletic Mesh with Ultra Dry Technology and anti-oder material will be available for all of the players and fans at lacoste.com. Retail prices range from $20 - $30.

Swing Juice Creates Tee that Capture's The Open's Iconic Moment

The team at Swing Juice has put together the perfect t-shirt to mark the turning point in the 2017 Champion Golfer of the Year's final round, when the momentum swung and he took control.

Get yours HERE.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Most-Watched Final Round of The Open in Eight Years

(SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND) – NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive coverage of Jordan Spieth’s dramatic victory at The 146TH Open concluded Sunday with a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 4.97 million average viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital, as well as a 3.2 U.S. household rating (9:14 a.m.-2:08 p.m. ET), according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.

The 4.97 million TAD for The Open at England’s Royal Birkdale Golf Club was +1% vs. 2016 at Scotland’s Royal Troon (4.94 million TAD), with a combination of 4.91 million average TV viewers on NBC (Even vs. 2016) and 59,200 streaming average minute audience (37,592 average minute audience, +60% vs. ‘16) across NBC Sports’ streaming platforms. TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the Average Minute Audience (AMA) for television and digital.

This makes 2017 the most-watched telecast of The Open since the 2009 Final Round at Turnberry on ABC (5.55 million), which ended in a 4-hole playoff with Stewart Cink defeating a 59-year-old Tom Watson.

TV-only viewership on Sunday peaked with 7.33 million average viewers (1:15-1:30 p.m.) as Jordan Spieth clinched the Claret Jug with his winning putt, making him the Champion Golfer of the Year.

Most-Streamed NBC Sports Golf Event Ever – 100.8 Million Live Minutes:
Across all four days, The Open totaled 100.8 million live minutes of streaming, a record for an NBC Sports’ golf event, and a remarkable +96% vs. ‘16. Streaming also garnered 917,000 unique devices (+51% vs. ‘16) and an Average Minute Audience of 34,000 (+92% vs. ‘16) across 50 hours of coverage. Sunday’s Final Round garnered 20 million minutes of live streaming (+60% vs. ‘16), 300,000 unique devices (+19% vs. ‘16).

NBC Sports’ Coverage of The 146TH Open Final Round Additional Highlights:
· NBC's Final Round telecast is the only major championship with a final round viewership increase vs. 2016 year-to-date and is the most-watched golf telecast on NBC since Tiger Woods’ win in the final round of the 2015 Players (5.07 million).
· The 3.2 rating for NBC’s 2017 coverage of daytime finish of The Open is +4% vs. 2017 U.S. Open Final Round’s primetime finish on FOX (3.1 U.S. Household Rating).
· NBC’s Third Round coverage (3.11 million TAD) is the most-watched Saturday golf telecast on NBC since Saturday of the 2016 Ryder Cup (3.33 million TAD, 9 a.m.-7:17 p.m., Oct 1).

Golf Channel’s Second Year of Covering Golf’s Oldest Major Championship
· On Thursday with coverage of The Open’s First Round, Golf Channel was the #1 cable sports network by 135% and #7 out of all 114 Nielsen rated cable networks from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
· On Friday with coverage of The Open’s Second Round, Golf Channel was the #1 cable sports network by 344% and #5 out of all 114 Nielsen-rated cable networks from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
· The Open was the #1 sports telecast of the day on Friday by 46%.
· Golf Channel on Friday from The Open posted its most-watched day (567k average viewers) since Ryder Cup Friday in September 2016 and the network’s 4th most-watched day ever.

Valley of the Eagles Golf Club to Offer Exclusive Preview Rounds

(Elyria, Ohio) – Valley of the Eagles Golf Club, the only Nicklaus Design daily-fee course in Northern Ohio, will open for exclusive preview rounds beginning August 5. Set on the site of the former Spring Valley Country Club, Valley of the Eagles has been completely redesigned by the team from Nicklaus Design, considered the industry leader in golf course design, to fully capture the beauty of the Black River Valley, tranquil surroundings and breathtaking elevation changes. Troon, the leader in golf course management, development, and marketing has been selected to manage and operate Valley of the Eagles.

During this exclusive preview window, the golf course will be the only operation open at Valley of the Eagles. Full clubhouse operations are expected to begin in August, as crews are putting the finishing touches on an expansive 24,000-square-foot clubhouse renovation. When complete, the Valley of the Eagles clubhouse will include an exciting new food and beverage offering known as the Black River Tavern, a fabulous venue for sports events and social gatherings, complemented by state-of-the-art golf simulators for year-round and multi-course enjoyment.

“This sneak peek will be a great opportunity for Cleveland-area golfers to see and play the new Valley of the Eagles Golf Club,” said Ray Metz, general manager, Valley of the Eagles. “We’re really excited about the work the Nicklaus Design team, led by Design Associate David Savic, has done here and are confident that with Troon’s proven agronomic and service-level standards, golfers will thoroughly enjoy the experience offered by Valley of the Eagles.”

The new Nicklaus Design course plays to a par of 72 and measures 7,015 yards from the tips. The course meanders through Black River Valley and along the Black River, with mature elm, oak and ash trees lining the fairways.

Valley of the Eagles is conveniently located at the intersections of highways 90, 80 and 57 — just 25 miles west of downtown Cleveland — in the beautiful Black River Valley, on the border of Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. Daily-fee rates at Valley of the Eagles will range from $35 to $60 and will include a golf cart. In addition, Valley of the Eagles is offering an annual pass program, which will provide golfers with course access for the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018.

For more information, visit www.ValleyEagles.com. To schedule an exclusive preview tee time or to inquire about the annual pass program, call (440) 365-1411.

For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com.

Talamore Staying Ahead of the Curve

There are plenty of reasons for excitement at the Talamore family of country clubs

(Village of Pinehurst, NC/Philadelphia, PA) – These are exciting times for the Talamore family of country clubs.

The “family” consists of Applecross Country Club in Downington, Pa., along with Talamore Country Club in Ambler, Pa., and two Pinehurst area golf courses as part of the Talamore Resort — The New Course at Talamore and Mid South Club in the famed Sandhills of North Carolina. Membership includes privileges at all four clubs.

Located less than 40 minutes west from Philadelphia, Applecross CC recently unveiled its highly anticipated, state-of-the-art golf clubhouse. A residential golf community featuring a broad array of first-class club amenities, including a Nicklaus Design golf course on which Michael Nicklaus served as lead architect, Applecross debuted in 2010 and has emerged as one of the Philadelphia area’s most innovative and progressive golf communities.

The stunning new Applecross clubhouse opened this spring and is approximately 15,000 square feet throughout three levels, including golf locker rooms, a pro shop and club offices. Soaring at the third level with stunning views of holes No. 18 and No. 19, The Eagle’s Nest is a member’s lounge with a 30-seat bar, expansive covered deck and an open timber frame design. The new clubhouse is expected to greatly enhance the Applecross membership experience.

Meanwhile, there is similar excitement around Pinehurst, N.C., where the renowned Talamore Resort has undergone an extensive facelift. Talamore Golf Resort first made headlines for its famed stable of llama caddies and unparalleled customer service. Today, Talamore has grown to become one of the Sandhills’ premier golf getaways — which is why more than 90 percent of the resort’s customers return or refer new business.

Last summer, a quarter century after this popular Pinehurst resort first opened, the green complexes at Talamore were converted from bent grass to Champion Bermuda and have received rave reviews. The Talamore green complexes were restored to their original 1991 Rees Jones design by recapturing the greens surrounds, which had been heavily encroached by native Bermuda grasses. In addition to true rolling and lightening fast greens, the new strains of Bermuda are providing significantly better playing conditions year round.

Talamore’s latest line of improvements, additions and upgrades included a renovation of the Talamore clubhouse and golf course — now named, appropriately, The New Course at Talamore — unique resort activities such as weekly Pig Pickins’ at the Talamore Pavilion and Southern breakfast buffets in the resort’s popular Sodfather’s Grille.

Now, Talamore’s partner property across famed Midland Road at the Arnold Palmer designed Mid South Club is undergoing a similar golf course restoration and greens conversion, along with numerous other club enhancements.

Following up on the successful remastering at Talamore, the greens at Mid South Club are being converted to Champion Bermuda this summer. To ensure the design continuity of the putting contours, Mid South and Talamore employ the “no till” method pioneered by Champion Turf Farms out of Texas. More than 700 courses nationwide have Champion Turf including Pinehurst No. 2 just up the road.

While the Mid South greens remodeling project is being conducted, the club is also adding a new set of forward tees to many holes. These new tees promise to be a welcome addition to the golf course and are expected to provide a more player friendly approach for those just learning the game — as well as those looking to move forward for a more enjoyable playing experience. Mid South is also busy improving the club’s cart path system, with most areas being removed and restored with a natural packed sand base. The paths will be re-concreted where necessary due to grade or traffic patterns.

Also in store for 2017 at Mid South are member facility upgrades to include the addition of basketball and pickle ball on one of the tennis courts, as well as a new barbecue and hospitality area at the Mid South pool. Other main clubhouse enhancements are being finalized with an eye towards rolling those out later this year.

In all, these current projects are among the more than $6 million in capital improvements at Talamore’s four North Carolina and Pennsylvania facilities. Which is why members of the “family” have plenty of reasons to be excited.

For information call (800) 552-6292 or visit www.TalamoreGolfResort.com for the latest golf package information.

Hubert Privé, French Golf Artist, Introduces American Tee Sculptures in the U.S.

(PARIS, France) – Hubert Privé (www.hubert-prive.com), a French artist specializing in golf sculpture, has introduced his American Tee sculptures into the United States. The giant golf tees, in solid red, white and blue as well as in two American flag designs, feature the pure design and harmonious lines for which Privé is known throughout the world. The giant tees offer decorative décor to a clubhouse interior, to strategically-chosen sites on a golf course or to any golfer’s private residence.

“It is a pleasure to introduce my art to American golfers by way of my American Tee sculptures,” said Privé, whose studio is in Normandy, France, where he creates his contemporary sculptures and photographs his work as well as his conceptual art. “The American Tees bring an extra element of joy and pleasure to golfers who encounter them.”

The American Tee sculptures are made of resin and are available in three sizes:
– 31.9” on a base of .39”
– 47.24” on a base of 7.87”
– 70.86” on a base of 11.81”

The tees also can be ordered on a custom made-to-measure basis and may be personalized upon request.

Privy’s work has enjoyed success throughout Europe and the world. By expressing the ephemeral, humorous and conceptual elements of golf, Privé salutes the grandeur of the golfer and the profound essence of the game. His sculptures stand as symbols of how golf serves to help elevate humanity around the globe. It is this spirit and philosophy which guide Privé in the creation of his art.

By introducing his work into the U.S., Pricé, a visual artist and designer who finds his inspiration in the world of golf, now is offering American golfers the chance to experience his imaginative interpretation of the game. The American Tee sculptures are being distributed in North America by H4Distribution, LLC (www.h4distribution.com), based in Jupiter, Fla. All additional Privé golf art also will be available through H4Distribution.

Liu Leads After First Round of 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

(AUGUSTA, Mo.) – Mika Liu, the inaugural 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball co-champion and the only USGA champion in the field, fired a 4-under-par 67 Monday to grab a one-stroke lead after the first day of stroke play in the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Boone Valley Golf Club’s 6,311-yard course.

Liu, who played in the first group off the 10th tee, carded five birdies, four on her last nine holes, against one bogey on the par-4 13th hole, which ranked as the fifth-toughest hole on Monday.

“I think the course is really challenging; there were a lot of precision shots to be made today, and I think I executed a lot of them,” said Liu, a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team who combined with Rinko Mitsunaga to win the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.

Liu, of Beverly Hills, Calif., cemented her lead by draining a 25-foot par putt on the ninth green, her 18th hole. The par-5 ninth was the longest hole on the course Monday, stretching to 525 yards.

“I was just trying to give it some good speed, and it fell in,” said Liu of her final putt. “The second shot [on the ninth hole] is a tough one because you could either lay up to the bunkers or go for it, but there really isn’t that good of a lay-up place. I went for it on the right side and ended up in the [mid-fairway] bunker.”

Set to start at Stanford University in the fall, Liu is playing in a championship record-tying seventh consecutive U.S. Girls’ Junior, joining only Megan Khang (2009-15) and Margot Morton (1954-60). If not for the United States Golf Association’s decision to increase the championship’s maximum age from 17 to 18 starting this year, Liu, who turned 18 in February, would not be competing. Including Liu, there are 33 18-year-olds in the field.

“It is amazing that I can come back when I’m 18 and also have my sister on the bag,” said Liu, whose sister, Marika, played golf at Yale. “This is her first time with me at a USGA event, and she’s been so helpful during my round. Cheering me up, making jokes, and telling me what line to go off of on my tee shot. She’s been amazing.”

The U.S. Girls’ Junior consists of 36 holes of stroke play, with the low 64 players advancing to match play, which begins Wednesday. The championship, scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Caroline Hodge and Brianna Navarrosa both carded 68s to position themselves one stroke from the lead. Navarossa, 15, who is playing in her second U.S. Girls’ Junior, finished runner-up with partner Angelina Kim in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Hodge, 16, is playing in her first USGA championship.

“I’m from [Larchmont] New York, and I think that Boone Valley is a lot similar to the courses I play on a day-to-day basis,” said Hodge. “Really thick rough, pretty hilly. I’m just glad I could come here, and be playing such a beautiful course, and playing well.”

Hodge made the turn at 1 over par and finished with four birdies on her last eight holes.

“I don’t really hit it that far, so I was just trying to mainly hit greens, but I ended up getting pretty close [within 5 feet] on the second hole [her 11th] and was able to just roll it in, which boosted my confidence,” said Hodge. “Overall, I was able to read my short putts really well, and I was able to focus on where in the cup I wanted to leave it. Anything inside 10 feet, I was pretty confident with, and I just got more confident as the round went on.”

Like Liu, Hodge played in the morning wave, and her sister is also here this week. Hodge’s sister, however, is playing in the field. Alice Hodge, 14, carded a 77. The Hodge sisters join Nicole and Waverly Whiston, of San Diego, Calif., as one of the two sets of sisters in the field. The Whistons carded 70 and 78, respectively.

Navarrosa, who had the lowest score of the afternoon groups, made five birdies to two bogeys, including four birdies on the inward nine. On the par-4 18th hole, she landed her approach shot 10 feet from the hole, giving herself a chance for birdie and a share of the lead. Her putt, however, rolled less than a foot past the hole.

“I just wanted to have a solid round and make some good putts,” said Navarrosa. “I’m glad I was able to start low today, so I don’t have to catch my way up. I hit my shots really well today, and while I didn’t make all my putts for birdie, I made enough to get a good score.”

Of the three players in the field who played in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., two weeks ago, only Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, of Thailand, returned a score under par, a 1-under 70. So Whi Kang, of the Republic of Korea, finished with a 74, while Brooke Seay, of San Diego – the only player in the field to make the 36-hole cut in the Women’s Open – carded a 77.

After finishing 1 under, Alexa Pano, the second-youngest player and one of two 12-year-olds in the field, signed for a 71, which was reflected in the official results. The recording error was made on the 10th hole (her first), which she birdied, but signed for as a par. If she had signed for a total score lower than 70, the mistake would have been grounds for disqualification.

“I think the course is playing really tough,” said Pano, who is from Lake Worth, Fla., and playing in her second consecutive championship in Missouri following last week’s Girls Junior PGA Championship in St. Albans, approximately 45 minutes from Augusta. “It’s not necessarily long, but you’re not having short irons into many of the holes, it’s more 7 to 5 irons. So, it definitely played pretty challenging, but I managed, and had really good putting today, which saved me in a bunch of situations. Today, it [putting] was definitely the strongest part of my game, but it hasn’t been the last couple weeks.”

A total of seven sub-par rounds were recorded in what was expected to be some of the best weather conditions of the week. After temperatures in the low 100s and high 90s with high humidity for the weekend practice rounds, Monday’s high was a more comfortable 91 with light wind.

Though eligible to play, the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Eun Jeong Seong, 17, of the Republic of Korea, is not defending her titles this week. Seong also won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, becoming the only player in USGA history to win both championships in the same year.

PXG Deploys a New Line of High-Performance Driving Irons

New PXG 0311X Driving Irons are the Best Clubs for the Worst Conditions

(Scottsdale, AZ) – PXG continues to help avid golfers dial in their game with the introduction of its new line of high-performance driving irons.

New PXG 0311X driving irons are an exceptional option for golfers who want to augment their bag for optimum performance under various playing conditions. A low spin club with a striking profile, PXG 0311X driving irons deliver a more penetrating ball flight, keeping the golf ball out of the wind and in the middle of the fairway.

“PXG makes the world’s finest golf equipment and our new 0311X driving iron is no exception,” American entrepreneur and PXG founder Bob Parsons stated. “It keeps the ball low and sends it far … feels buttery smooth … and looks smoking hot.”

Like PXG’s celebrated irons, 0311X driving irons are forged and features an ultra-thin face backed with a structural TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) material. The high-strength steel face paired with the TPE produces a more efficient energy transfer, resulting in increased ball speed and more distance.

A wide sole design and minimal offset help create a CG position that sits low in the club head and closer to the shaft axis, creating less dynamic loft at impact.

“The 0311X looks incredible at address,” shared PGA TOUR champion and PXG Tour professional Billy Horschel. “It really suits my eye. Off the tee, it launches low with little spin, which helps me avoid getting into some hairy spots on the course.”

To learn more about PXG’s 0311X driving irons or to schedule a fitting, visit www.pxg.com.

Branson/Lakes Area Golf Destination News and Notes

New Branson Hills Superintendent Targets National Distinction for Course; Branson Earns ‘Best Small Town in America’ Recognition

(BRANSON, MISSOURI) – If things go the way that former Buffalo Ridge Springs superintendent Lukas Phillips hopes at Branson Hills Golf Club – where he was recently appointed superintendent – the top-ranked Missouri course will someday be recognized nationally among the 100 best in the U.S.

Annually ranked the top course in Missouri by Golfweek magazine for several years running (“America’s Best Courses You Can Play by State”), Branson Hills is already regarded as an excellent layout.

“I know that ownership is excited for what the future holds at Branson Hills and is on board with the enhancements being made,” said native son Phillips, who worked at Columbia Country Club after graduating from Mizzou with a Turf Science degree.”

Changes include implementing new cart-path curbing and better drainage to reduce excess water on fairways and adding more forward tees to further welcome golfers of all skill levels. Gutting some of the underbrush outside of the rough and cutting the rough down are other changes – both intended to help players find their golf balls more quickly and improve pace of play.

No newcomer to high-profile courses, Phillips, an 11-year member of the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America, helped oversee an extensive course renovation at Buffalo Ridge Springs, where he assisted in hosting three PGA TOUR Champions Legends of Golf tournaments. He also worked at Oakland Hills Country Club (MI), a major championship venue, and the immaculate Montreaux Golf and Country Club, a PGA TOUR venue.

“Maintaining great course conditions is my job, and inspiring more people to play is a close second,” said Phillips, who tagged along with his parents as a youngster while they played the game, a family activity that fostered his lifelong love of the sport. “We will accomplish both at Branson Hills.”

National Outlet Lists Branson Among America’s Best
Country Living named Branson one of 25 Best Small Lake Towns in America, confirming what many people love about the Ozark Mountain oasis, where the residents are friendly and outdoor activities proliferate, not the least of which is golf.

Reaching more than 11 million readers, Country Living stated the following in justifying its Branson selection. “Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo are all stellar options in this energetic town of around 10,000 people. Amp up your lakeside bliss boating, fishing, jet skiing and even scuba diving, or make the most of your time on land at The Titanic Museum or at the new Fritz's Adventure with a ropes course, climbing walls, and zip lining. Keep riding the wave (literally) when you make a reservation at Welk Resorts Branson, which has a 10,000-square-foot ‘Splash-a-Torium’. For dinner, you can find us at Danna's BBQ & Burgers, where one order of onion rings is about five too few.”

“We hope that Country Living highlighting Branson as an outstanding vacation spot will introduce us to new visitors,” said Lynn Berry, Branson/Lakes Area CVB Director of Communications. “Branson’s charm extends to attractions like Silver Dollar City amusement park, our live entertainment theaters, historic downtown, waterfront Branson Landing, and the fastest-growing golf destination in North America.”

Beyond having the top two rated courses in Missouri – Branson Hills and Buffalo Ridge Springs (“Golfweek America’s Best Courses You Can Play By State, 2017”) – the area is home to Top of the Rock, LedgeStone, Thousand Hills, Pointe Royale and Holiday Hills.

Several more courses are planned or under construction, including a Gary Player-designed course set to open this year, a Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw layout planned for 2018, and two courses by Tiger Woods – 18-hole Payne’s Valley (named after area native Payne Stewart) and a family friendly short course.

The coming courses are amenities of Big Cedar Lodge, voted the “Best Resort in the Midwest” by Travel + Leisure magazine readers.

About Branson/Lakes Area Golf
Pointe Royale Golf Village, 417.334.4477
Thousand Hills Golf Resort, 800.487.0769, 417.334.4553
Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course, 417.339.5430
LedgeStone Country Club at StoneBridge Village, 417.335.8187
Top of the Rock Golf Course, 417.339.5343
Branson Hills Golf Club, 417.337.2963
Holiday Hills Resort and Golf Club, 417.334.4838
Don Gardner Golf Course, 417.337.8510

Call 1-800-296-0463 for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at: www.explorebranson.com.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Youth on Course Partners with LOOPER to Expand Caddie Academy, Golf Employment Opportunities

(PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF.) — Youth on Course — the organization renowned for providing affordable golf access – has partnered with LOOPER, the premiere caddies-on-demand service provider, to further expand its flourishing Caddie Academy.

Using the LOOPER app, golfers can reserve caddies for play at 13 participating Youth on Course facilities in the San Francisco Bay area, Fresno and Monterrey Peninsula. Youth on Course pays caddies half the regular caddie fee, making a golfer’s cost comparable to renting a cart.  It also deposits $50 into a college scholarship fund for caddies with financial need each time they complete a "loop" (round).

A premium service with no cost to golf course operations, LOOPER supports more than 100 courses nationwide with roughly 2,000 registered caddies.  In addition to carrying bags and providing some on course knowledge, LOOPER caddies focus on hustle and having a great attitude. They also take care of time consuming tasks during the round like raking bunkers, tending flagsticks and carrying clubs. Walking alongside a caddie for 18 holes burns more than 2,000 calories, relieves stress and improves cardiovascular health.

“Youth on Course and LOOPER share a mission to remove barriers which prevent entry to golf,” says Adam Heieck, Executive Director of Youth on Course. “LOOPER’s mobile platform allows for efficient connectivity to the communities we serve while stimulating youth engagement with the game.”

“Today, less than five percent of U.S. golf courses have caddie programs,” says David Cavossa, Founder and CEO of LOOPER. “Partnering with Youth on Course allows us to highlight the importance of caddies and encourage the next generation of golfers to experience the game.”

The Caddie Academy started in 2014 at San Jose Country Club, with steady growth throughout Northern California since then. This program helps youth caddies increase their confidence, professionalism, effective communication and relationship-building skills. The organization is aggressively exploring expansion of the Caddie Academy.

The Youth on Course-LOOPER connection aligns with a rise in junior and millennial golf. There are 2.9 million players ages 6-17 who are starting earlier in life. The 18-34 set of six million golfers on-course and three million off-course (driving ranges, golf-entertainment centers and simulators) is golf’s largest segment with latent demand of 15 million “interested” and “somewhat interested” in taking up the game. These demographics are rapidly adopting LOOPER’s Uber-like technology.

For more information: www.youthoncourse.org

Rolex Testimonee Jordan Spieth Etches Name into The Open History with Victory at Royal Birkdale

(Southport, UK) – Jordan Spieth performed remarkably to claim victory at The 146th Open, held at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, United Kingdom. With this feat, Spieth becomes the Champion Golfer of the Year for the first time in his career.

In achieving this momentous victory, Spieth joins an exclusive list of players to have won the original Major championship in professional golf including legends of the game and fellow Rolex Testimonees Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, known as ‘The Big Three’, and Tom Watson, who claimed an unprecedented five Open titles in nine years.

Other Rolex Testimonees to have claimed the coveted title and iconic Claret Jug include Zimbabwean Nick Price in 1994, Tiger Woods in 2000, 2005 and 2006 and Phil Mickelson in 2013.

The 146th Open is Spieth’s third Major victory, and the 23-year-old Texan becomes the 18th male player to have won three different Major championships, and is only the second golfer to do so before the age of 24 - the first being fellow Rolex Testimonee Jack Nicklaus.

Following scores of 65, 69 and 65, Spieth carded a final round of 69, with key birdies at holes 14, 16 and 17 plus an eagle at hole 15. As such, he is the first player to shoot in the 60s in every round of any staging of The Open at Royal Birkdale, and is only the sixth player to go wire-to-wire for a victory at The Open, following in the footsteps of fellow Rolex Testimonee Tiger Woods, who achieved the feat in 2005.

“A DREAM COME TRUE’’
Descring how it feels to have his hands on the Claret Jug, Spieth said: “It’s incredible. This is one of the most sought after trophies in the world and the most sought after in our sport. To be able to have my name on it, and already see that, is a dream come true. My last goal now is to try to complete a career Grand Slam.”

Were Spieth to achieve this, he would become only the sixth male golfer to have won all four of golf’s modern Majors at any time during their career, joining an elite group that includes fellow Rolex Testimonees Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.

Rolex Testimonee Brooks Koepka also made a notable impact on the leaderboard, finishing the championship tied in sixth place. The 27-year-old, who recently won his first Major, and Spieth are part of the Rolex New Guard – a new generation of golfers who want to assert their authority on the sport, and inspire future generations of players to follow them.

Rolex Director of Communication & Image, Arnaud Boetsch, said: “Rolex extends its warmest congratulations to Jordan Spieth for his remarkable victory at golf’s original championship.

“Jordan Spieth has been an esteemed member of the Rolex family since 2013. The honour of lifting the Claret Jug is a fitting reward for his commitment to individual excellence, as well as his precise and singular performance at The Open.”

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Noah Goodwin Rallies Past Matthew Wolff to Win 70th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

(ANDOVER, Kan.) – Noah Goodwin, 17, of Corinth, Texas, produced the second-biggest comeback in championship-match history, rallying from four holes down with eight to play to defeat Matthew Wolff, 18, of Agoura Hills, Calif., 1 up, to win the 70th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on a blistering-hot Saturday at Flint Hills National Golf Club.

The only larger comeback occurred two years ago when Phillip Barbaree defeated Andrew Orischak in 37 holes at Colleton River Plantation Club after trailing by five holes with eight to play. Andy Hyeon Bo Shim, in 2012 at The Golf Club of New England, also rallied from 5 down at the start of the afternoon 18 in beating 2010 champion Jim Liu, 4 and 3. The USGA lengthened the U.S. Junior Amateur final from 18 holes to 36 in 2005.

“It’s definitely the highest by far,” said Goodwin of his career accomplishments, which includes being named the 2016 American Junior Golf Association Player of the Year. “It’s every junior’s dream to win the U.S. Junior. It’s the most prestigious junior event in the entire world. Everybody knows about it, and to add my name among the greats like [2015 U.S. Open champion] Jordan Spieth and [nine-time USGA champion] Tiger Woods just means everything to me.”

His victory also was a bit sweeter after becoming the first competitor in 34 years to claim the title a year after losing in the final match. Three-hundred and sixty-four days ago at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., Goodwin lost to Min Woo Lee, of Australia, 2 and 1, but now he has joined Mason Rudolph (1950) and Tim Straub (1983) as the only other golfers to win a U.S. Junior Amateur a year after losing in the championship match. He was the sixth competitor to reach a championship match in consecutive years, a list that includes Woods, Eddie Pearce and Davis Riley, who dropped back-to-back finals in 2013 and 2014.

“I'm excited for him,” said Straub, the head men’s golf coach at Davidson College, by phone. “That's really neat. When I did it, it was pretty rare then, too. Now, you have such a short span to play in the U.S. Junior. It's a pretty amazing accomplishment, especially in today's game with all the great junior talent out there.”

Goodwin, competing in his fourth U.S. Junior, also became the seventh Texas native since 1999 to hoist the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Trophy, joining PGA Tour winners Hunter Mahan (1999) and Spieth (2009, 2011), as well as Matthew Rosenfeld (2000), Cory Whitsett (2007), Scottie Scheffler (2013) and Will Zalatoris (2014).

When he finally got to his phone after the prize ceremony, several congratulatory text messages were waiting, including one from his instructor Cameron McCormick, the same pro who has worked with past Junior Amateur champions Spieth, Barbaree and Zalatoris.

“That just means a lot,” said Goodwin. “He’s done so much for my game. I can’t really express my gratitude for Cameron. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”

Wolff, an incoming freshman at Oklahoma State University, was vying to become the first 18-year-old champion in the competition’s 70-year history. During last year’s championship, the USGA announced it was raising the maximum age from 17 to 18 beginning in 2017, and nearly one-third of the field at Flint Hills (51 of 156) was comprised of 18-year-olds.

But after taking a 4-up lead with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 28th hole, things began to unravel for Wolff in the searing heat. It was the fourth consecutive day the mercury reached 100 degrees or more, and the heat index on Saturday was 112.

He short-sided himself with his second shot to the par-5 29th hole, taking two shots to reach the putting surface from gnarly greenside rough. Likely to win the hole with two putts, Goodwin converted his 35-foot birdie putt, just his second of the afternoon 18, to trim his deficit to 3 down.

Wolff then bogeyed three of his next four holes to allow Goodwin to square the match and regain all the momentum. Goodwin took some extra time on the 5-footer he made for par to win the 33rd hole.

Then on the 36th hole, a par 5 with water down the left-hand side and in front of the green, Wolff got a bit aggressive with his line, pulling his drive into the hazard.

Goodwin, who at No. 27 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ was the highest-ranked player in the field, had already found the fairway with what he called his “best drive of the week,” a 330-yarder that left him with just a 187-yard approach.

Because he was away, Goodwin had to play his second shot first, even though Wolff was playing his third from the tee. He kept to his game plan and went for the green in two, hitting a solid 6-iron to the “fat” part of the putting surface. Wolff managed to reach the green in four shots, but when he failed convert his long par putt, he conceded Goodwin’s 6-foot birdie and the match.

“It’s tough to come out on the bottom, but I played great all week,” said Wolff. “I tied for seventh [in stroke play], and beat a bunch of good players, including my roommate [and medalist Austin Eckroat in the quarterfinals]. Noah just got me at the end.”

When asked if the heat was a factor down the stretch, Wolff responded: “It was hot all week and I was drinking a lot of water. I think it was a little loss of concentration, maybe just got a little tired with my swing. I got a little loose with my swing.”

Goodwin, who is hoping to enroll at Southern Methodist University in January 2018, admitted that he didn’t have his best stuff for the final, shooting the equivalent of 4-over 146 (73-73), with the usual match-play concessions. The two finalists combined for only five birdies – Goodwin had three, one conceded – in the afternoon round.

“There was a lot of grinding,” said Goodwin. “Like I said a lot this week, my game hasn’t been that great coming into [the U.S. Junior Amateur]. I played a couple of decent tournaments, but it just wasn’t really all there like I wanted it to be. So, I really put a lot of work with my coach to get it in the shape that it needed to be.”

Coming into the championship, Goodwin didn’t feel like his game was in peak form, either, but he easily qualified for match play and only trailed during one of 80 holes played before Saturday’s final. He came out firing against Wolff, setting up strong birdie opportunities on his first four holes, but only converted one, a 5-footer on the par-4 third hole. Wolff, No. 252 in the WAGR, answered on No. 6 by driving the green on the 314-yard hole and having his eagle putt eventually conceded. When he won the par-5 11th with a conceded birdie, he never trailed again until the final hole, although Goodwin did trim a 3-down deficit to 1 at the end of the morning round, winning 17 when Wolff’s tee shot found the water hazard, and holing a 10-foot birdie on 18.

The afternoon round started with Wolff’s 5-foot birdie putt doing a 360-degree lip-out. But he went 2 up on the 20th hole with a par after Goodwin had to take an unplayable lie from waist-high rough left of the fairway. A double-bogey 6 by Goodwin on Hole 25 allowed Wolff to push his margin to 3 up before he won the par-3 28th with his second and last birdie.  

“I knew it was going to be a hard match from the start, “ said Wolff, who was the runner-up to his former Westlake High teammate Spencer Soosman in the 2014 Polo Golf Classic, the only match-play event on the AJGA circuit. “He just proved why he deserves it. He played great and was so consistent.”

The champion receives a gold medal and custody of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship Trophy for the next year. He also is exempt into this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif., Aug. 14-20. Goodwin is also exempt into the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, and receives a three-year exemption into U.S. Open sectional qualifying.

Goodwin also can defend his Junior Amateur title next year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., but is unsure if he will attempt to do so.

“I’m definitely going to start focusing a lot more on [open] amateur [competitions],” said Goodwin, who has lost in the Round of 64 in each of the last two U.S. Amateurs. “I don’t want to say for sure, but this could be my last individual junior event. I’ll play in the Junior Presidents Cup (in September at Plainfield Country Club), but after that I’m graduating early and trying to get into SMU [in January]. My fingers are still crossed on that if I can get all my school work done.”

The runner-up receives a silver medal, an exemption into next month’s U.S. Amateur and an exemption into 2018 U.S. Open sectional qualifying.

The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Jeremy Sieverts, Denver Outlaws Midfielder, Wins 2017 MLL All-Star FlingGolf Invitational

(BOSTON) – PlusOne Sports/FlingGolf, in partnership with Major League Lacrosse, staged the second annual MLL All-Star FlingGolf Invitational July 8 at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, Calif. Jeremy Sieverts, Midfielder for the Denver Outlaws, won the event and the $1,000 winners’ purse.

FlingGolf is a dynamic new sport that is a hybrid between golf and lacrosse and is played on a regulation golf course. Only one FlingStick is required versus 14 clubs. The lightweight carbon fiber stick has a basket that cradles the golf ball and allows it to be launched easily down the fairway similar to tossing a lacrosse ball. A small notch is designed into the head for putting once a player is on the green.

Sieverts took home an additional $500 as he also won the closest to the pin contest on the 14th hole sponsored by TourMark Grips and “Longest Fling” on the 18th hole. Eric Law, also of the Denver Outlaws came in second, and Brian Phipps of the Chesapeake Bayhawks, came in third in the field of eight MLL All-Stars. The event was staged in conjunction with the MLL All-Star game held later that day at Bonney Field. More than 7,000 spectators attended.
                 
“It was a great experience to come out to California for the All-Star weekend and be able to compete against some of the best lacrosse players in the world on a golf course with FlingGolf as well as the lacrosse field,” Sieverts said. “It was fun to pick up the new FlingStick and be able to really quickly nail down both distance and accuracy … and (it’s) always good to get a W!”

FlingGolf entered into a partnership with MLL in 2016 and lacrosse fans have enthusiastically embraced the sport.

“We love seeing these guys come out and compete and have a blast playing FlingGolf at the same time,” said Alex Van Alen, CEO of PlusOne Sports and founder of FlingGolf. “That's what it's all about, creating a new vibe on the golf course that respects the traditional game, but brings an athletic, fun energy to the course. Congratulations to Jeremy, Brian, Eric and the other All-Stars.”

Scores for the nine-hole event were calculated by point totals with 1 point for a double bogey, 2 points - bogeys, 3 points - pars, 4 points - birdies and 5 points - eagles. Also 2 points for being on the green in regulation. More than $2,000 was awarded in total prizes. Other MLL All-Star FlingGolf players included Will Manny of the New York Lizards; Connor Buczek of the Florida Launch; Matt Abbott of the Chesapeake Bayhawks; and Mike Simon, Zach Currier and Eric Law of the Denver Outlaws.

“We were honored to have Haggin Oaks, one of golf’s premier facilities, be the host site for our second MLL All-Star FlingGolf event,” said Van Alen. “Ken Morton Sr., along with his family, have been innovators in the golf industry and continue to lead the way by offering FlingGolf.”  

For more information or to purchase a FlingStick, go to www.flinggolf.com.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

L2 MOI MAXX Design Provides Stable, Accurate Ball Striking, Distance Control

(JEFFERSON, Ohio) - Rookie Xander Schauffele birdied the 18th hole recently at the Greenbrier Classic to capture his first PGA Tour victory at the age of 23.  Sir Isaac Newton, in 1666, developed his theories of gravitation when he was only 23 years old. “If Sir Isaac Newton was a golfer, he would have designed the L2 MOI MAXX,” said John Ambrose, President of L2 Putters.

Ambrose, a retired commercial airline pilot, has studied the physics of putting for more than a decade and has launched the L2 MOI MAXX offering the largest (6.25 inches toe to heel) and heaviest (620 grams) putter in golf.  Combined with the total club weight of the head, shaft and grip, the L2 MOI MAXX provides the most stable, accurate ball striking and distance control putter on the market.

Motivated by a belief that golfers have been misled and brainwashed about putting, Ambrose explained that golfers are constantly micromanaging and manipulating their putters and putting stroke due to the poor design and performance of small light-weight putters. He believes it’s time that golf evolves from the tee box to the putting green and with the help of the famous physicist Newton, he’s out to prove it.

Newton’s First Law - An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction.

The L2 MOI MAXX with its high MOI encourages a pure, gravity-fed, big-muscle, pendulum motion.  Applying the same amount of backstroke size creates the same amount of down stroke energy, if golfers allow the putter to fall through the  ball without any outside forces asserted by the fingers, hands or wrists. This repeatable “dead-hands” motion allows the club to descend into the ball with the same direction as it was started. “Giving up control of the putter is not easy to do, but the trade-off is a pure stroke that is worth the learning curve,” said Ambrose. “Dependable and repeatable mechanics is vital to transferring accurate touch and feel analysis to your stroke.”

Newton’s Second law: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).

Size matters. The size and weight of the L2 MOI MAXX requires a greater amount of force in order to get it moving. The L2 MOI MAXX engages the big muscles of the arms and shoulders instead of the adrenaline sensitive small muscles of the fingers, hands and wrists. The large sweet zone on the putter face measures 3.5 inches minimizing off-center hits.  “The higher MOI and gravity-fed design of the L2 MOI MAXX provides a rhythmic, yip-proof tempo for optimum distance control and a solid down-the-line stroke,” said Ambrose. “It increases confidence and quiets the doubt between your ears. That’s important from inside three feet.”

Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

Every time golfers attempt to putt, motion is created. This motion is a reaction to the need to move the ball toward the hole. The less reaction used throughout this process, the less influence will be applied to the club and ball.

“Our need to over control the putter in order to obtain the desired results is not an accident,” concluded Ambrose. “By using the average light, unstable, easy to manipulate putters on the market, the need to control and micromanage the club is real, and the reason you see the creative hand grip positions being used by tour pros. Quite frankly, it’s the putter stupid.”

The L2 MOI Maxx embraces Newton’s laws of physics and with the help of gravity will improve your putting.  PGA.com recognized the L2 MOI MAXX as one of the “Best New Putters” at the 2016 PGA Show. For more information, video tips, and to order your custom designed L2 premium putter go to www.L2putters.com.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jackson Park Advisory Council Committee Reaffirms Support for Golf Course Project

(CHICAGO, IL) – Previously, at a January 27, 2017 meeting of the Jackson Park Advisory Council’s Golf Course Committee, the committee stated its “consensus that the new golf course could bring prestige, status and new economic benefits to the community.” Given new information from the conceptual golf course design proposal, the committee reconvened on Monday July 17, 2017. Following the meeting, JPAC Golf Course Committee Chairman, Mr. Jerry Levy stated the following:

“Based on the community engagement efforts of the Chicago Park District and Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, it is the consensus of the committee to continue its support of the proposal to combine the Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Courses. The conceptual plans by Tiger Woods’ TGR Design propose features to attract recreational golfers; while also offering potential to bring marquis professional, junior and amateur events to Jackson Park. Committee members also cited noticeably increased activity among golfers of all ages at the courses during Summer 2017. The committee’s support remains conditioned upon adherence to previously stated requirements: continued open access to the public; reduced fees for Chicago residents, including discounted pricing for seniors and free golf for juniors age 17 and younger; as well as following ecological standards in construction, maintenance and operations. The committee also calls upon the Chicago Park District and Chicago Parks Golf Alliance to continue collaboration with longtime golfers and non-golfing neighborhood stakeholders as design proposals are refined. In conclusion, based upon current information, the committee reaffirms its consensus that the proposed golf course will bring prestige, status, and new economic benefits to the community and will be a major asset to Jackson Park.”

More information is available at www.jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org and chicagoparksgolfalliance.org.

Charlotte's Pinnacle Golf Properties Adds Five New Clubs, Launches Financial Services Division

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Charlotte-based Pinnacle Golf Properties (PGP) — a full-service golf and club management company — has added five Charlotte-area golf clubs to its portfolio, as well as a new Financial Services Division.

Formed in 2002, PGP has doubled its portfolio in the past year and now represents 14 courses all located in North and South Carolina. The recent five-club portfolio is owned by Canadian based Romspen Club Holdings and represent some of the best layouts in the Charlotte area: Waterford Golf Club, The Tradition Golf Club, Highland Creek Golf Club, The Divide Golf Club and Birkdale Golf Club. In addition, PGP also represents 3 additional Charlotte-area courses: Tega Cay Golf Club, Skybrook Golf Club and River Hills Country Club.

“We are extremely excited to add the five Charlotte area courses to our growing portfolio and to expand to eight courses in our hometown of Charlotte,” said David Taylor Managing Partner and President of PGP. “PGP is known for quality service and premier course conditions. These golf courses represent some of Charlotte's best layouts and we will continue making improvements to provide area golfers a premier golf experience at a truly affordable price."

In addition to the Charlotte portfolio PGP operates five top-rated courses in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area of North Carolina: Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center, Meadowlands Golf Club, Oak Valley Golf Club, Sapona Ridge Country Club and Stoney Creek Golf Club.

PGP offers complete turnkey management services encompassing every area and department within a facility. The company’s mission is to operate each golf facility by providing members and guests a memorable and pleasant golfing experience at the highest level — focusing on quality and service while maintaining a perfect balance with the financial and operational goals of the property.

As part of package of services, PGP also announces the launch of its Financial Services Division (FSD) to provide financial expertise and reporting to Clubs seeking the experience and buying power of a multi-course operator but without giving up management control. In late 2016, PGP hired Roger Wolfe, a veteran Certified Club Manager and financial accountant to serve as PGP’s FSD Chief Financial Officer. Wolfe brings more than 20 years of experience to the company and is a strong addition to the financial reporting team.

“Managing a golf club and ensuring its economic success requires both a love of the game along with proven financial skills,” said Kim Worrel, Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer of PGP. “Without question, the financial side of club management and integrating this with marketing are perhaps the biggest challenge today’s club owners and operators face on a daily basis.

“Through conversations and experience with both current and prospective clients, it became clear that a common concern of just about every Board, owner and operator was whether they were running their business with affordable and sufficient financial controls.”

Golf clubs vary in their financial needs. Most clubs require daily bookkeeping, but other accounting functions may only be needed on a bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annual basis. To meet these needs, many clubs have a full-time controller. Others hire CPA firms to execute financial matters. These approaches may not be the most cost effective ways to achieve the necessary results. Equally important, partnering with a company that has extensive industry experience and relationships will provide financial benefits to the club. The PGP Financial Services division allows clients the ability to leverage the company’s tremendous experience while providing peace of mind that the day-to-day financial controls and reporting are being produced timely and accurately.

“We believe the Financial Services product is a true game-changer for our industry and is the perfect solution for any size club searching for an effective way to lower their overhead and experience significant benefits from our buying programs, payroll processing and expense line analytics,” said Worrel. “We cover the full back office package at considerable savings to the clubs. It is an exciting time for our company.”

With more than 150 years of collective experience on its executive team, PGP offers a unique advantage to golf course owners, operators and management teams. PGP has built a reputation rooted in proven results in a variety of golf arenas including private, resort, semi-private and daily fee operations. In aggregate, the PGP team has operated more than 80 golf courses, opened 30 new courses, renovated or constructed more than 20 courses, and evaluated more than 200 golf course operations. This experience translates into an array of benefits for PGP’s partner clubs.

The Medal Play Golf Tour is Set to Re-Launch in November with Simplified Format

The Medal Play Golf Tour is ready to begin its revival season in the Palm Springs / Inland Empire, Calif. area and in the Phoenix, Ariz. area

(RELEASE) - The Medal Play Golf Tour is ready to begin its revival season in the Palm Springs / Inland Empire, CA area and in the Phoenix, AZ area under the direction of veteran tour director Blane Freytag. The tour, which provides amateurs the experience of competitive stroke-play golf, will host a local schedule in each area that kicks off in November that will feature a winter series (November – March) and a summer series (April- August).

The tour is simplifying its format by eliminating flights and having all players tee off from the white member tees set between 6,000 - 6,400 yards depending on the course. All scoring is done at net utilizing 80% of a verifiable handicap.

“We will continue to pay out the top 25% of the field, same as before,” said Freytag. “Only now the payouts for the top finishers will be substantially higher due to flight elimination. We also took a look at the costs of operating the tour and have reduced the event entry fees to record low levels. It truly is affordable.

“Now amateurs can play a tour just like the pros, without the travel,” added Freytag, “Our events are held locally on weekends, perfect for the average golfer. Our goal is to provide fun, fair, competitive individual stroke play golf tournaments. Everyone has an equal shot in our tournaments.”

The Medal Play Golf Tour is for amateurs of all ages and abilities.

There will also be an optional skins game at each event. Results and points standings are posted within 72 hours at (www.medalplaygolftour.com).

Come join them in the excitement and experience of tournament golf in a friendly and competitive atmosphere. The Medal Play Golf Tour gives the everyday player the chance to compete in events for trophies, skins and prize pool money on a local and regional stage. Bring your friends and watch the prize money grow. Visit www.medalplaygolftour.com to sign up or call tour director Blane Freytag at (623) 764-3522.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hazeltine National Golf Club to Host 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

U.S. Junior Amateur field will expand and require the use of two courses, beginning in 2020

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., as the host site for the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The dates of the championship, which will be the ninth USGA event hosted by the club, are July 20-25, 2020.

The USGA will also change the format of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2020. The field will be expanded from 156 players to a final size that will be announced at a later date and two courses will be used for the stroke-play portion of the championship. Chaska Town Course will serve as the stroke-play co-host course for the 2020 Junior Amateur, as it did for the 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship.

“Hazeltine National Golf Club has been supportive of USGA championships from the inception of the club to the present and we are appreciative of this committed and enduring relationship,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “By expanding the U.S. Junior Amateur field in 2020 we are providing additional opportunities for the world’s best junior players to compete in the championship.”

Designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1962 and remodeled by his son, Rees Jones, on several occasions, Hazeltine National Golf Club takes its name from nearby Lake Hazeltine and is located southwest of Minneapolis. The layout blends the rolling hills, lakes, developed woods and the prairies of the upper Midwest. Chaska Town Course, a public facility, was designed by Arthur Hills and opened for play in 1997. The course features 285 acres of oak groves, open prairie and marshlands.

“Hazeltine National is honored to be selected as the host site for the 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship,” said Bob Fafinski, club president. “We look forward to our partnership with the USGA and the city of Chaska in delivering a world-class amateur event. At Hazeltine, our mission as a golf club is to host national championships, which includes golf competitions at all levels – men and women; professionals and amateurs; seniors and juniors. Hosting the 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship fits perfectly with our mission. We look forward to welcoming the best junior players in the world to compete on our golf course in 2020.”

With the 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur, Hazeltine will become the first club to host a U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.

The U.S. Open Championship has been contested twice at Hazeltine. In 1970, Tony Jacklin became the first Englishman to win since Ted Ray in 1920. Jacklin’s four-round score of 7-under 281 was seven strokes better than his nearest competitor. Payne Stewart defeated Scott Simpson in an 18-hole playoff to claim the 1991 U.S. Open title. The two players were tied at 6-under 282 after 72 holes. Stewart, who would later win his second Open in 1999, gained four strokes over the last three holes of the playoff to win by two.

The U.S. Women’s Open has twice been played at Hazeltine. Sandra Spuzich won by one stroke over defending champion Carol Mann in 1966. Spuzich birdied holes 16 and 17 to take the lead and win her first professional title. In 1977, Hollis Stacy won the first of her three U.S. Women’s Opens, defeating Nancy Lopez by two strokes.

Hazeltine also hosted the 1983 U.S. Senior Open and 2006 U.S. Amateur championships. Billy Casper holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of a playoff round against Rod Funseth to win the Senior Open. Casper, a two-time U.S. Open champion, and Funseth were tied after 72 holes and each carded a 75 in the 18-hole playoff. In 2006, Richie Ramsay, of Scotland, won four of six holes with birdies to take an early 3-up lead and then held on to beat John Kelly, 4 and 2, in the 36-hole U.S. Amateur final. Medalist Billy Horschel fired an 11-under 60 in the first round of stroke play at Chaska Town Course in the 2006 Amateur.

The 1994 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship (won by Tim Jackson) and the 2001 USGA Men’s State Team Championship (won by Minnesota) were also played at Hazeltine. Additionally, the club was the site for the 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships, the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches and the 1999 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship.

The 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur will be the 37th USGA championship in Minnesota and the third U.S. Junior Amateur. In 1958, Gordon Baker was the champion at the University of Minnesota Golf Course in St. Paul, and in 1984, Doug Martin won at Wayzata Country Club in Wayzata.

The U.S. Junior Amateur was first played in 1948. The championship is open to amateurs who have not reached their 19th birthday by the conclusion of the championship and who have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 4.4. Tiger Woods (three times), Jordan Spieth (twice), Johnny Miller, David Duval and Hunter Mahan are among the notable U.S. Junior Amateur champions. This year’s U.S. Junior Amateur is being played July 17-22 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.

The 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur will be contested July 16-21 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., and the 2019 championship is scheduled for July 15-20 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

To learn more, visit usga.org.

Carr Golf Named ‘Official Travel Partner’ for Quail Valley Golf Club

(DUBLIN, Ireland) – Carr Golf  – Ireland and Scotland’s premier provider of unforgettable golf vacations –has been named as “Official Travel Provider” for Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

With Carr Golf’s years of experience and flawless reputation, the full-service tour company specializes in unrivaled customer care and premier “one-of-a-kind” itineraries featuring luxury accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, fine dining, caddies and anything else needed for stress-free, unforgettable golf vacations.

Named an “Authorized Provider” of coveted tee times for 2018 play on The Old Course in St. Andrews, Carr Golf also works closely with world-class layouts in Scotland and Ireland including Muirfield Golf Club, Turnberry, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Portmarnock Golf Club, Old Head Golf Links, Portstewart Golf Club, Ballybunion Golf Club, Tralee Golf Club, Waterville Golf Links and Lahinch Golf Club.

Quail Valley members will enjoy exclusive access to Carr Golf’s expert knowledge and many connections in the game. A Florida-based travel concierge, Paul Schmidt, new to the Carr Golf team, will also be at hand to assist Quail Valley members planning international golf trips. Schmidt provides a wealth of experience in the golf travel industry. His expertise allows members “around-the-clock” personal service for tailored golf tour itineraries to Ireland, UK, Spain and Portugal for individuals and groups of any size.

Renowned for its world-class events, Carr Golf will host the inaugural “Donald Ross Invitational Tournament” at Scotland’s Royal Dornoch Golf Club on Oct. 8 – 12 as well as the second annual “World Links Invitational Pro-Am” in Southwest Ireland. Quail Valley members will earn priority listing for these prestigious events.

Additional benefits, over and above the incredible attention to detail the Carr Golf team provides, includes unrivalled access to tee times on championship links layouts, personalized gifts, a dedicated Quail Valley travel representative from the initial inquiry until back home in the U.S; and private dinners hosted by the Carr family in the “Joe Carr Room,” fittingly named after Ireland’s greatest ever amateur golfer in Dublin’s historic Sutton Golf Club.

“Our ongoing partnership with Carr Golf for nearly 15 years allows our members to play many of the iconic links courses in the Emerald Isle and U.K. while creating memories and stories to last a lifetime,” says Kevin Given, Quail Valley’s co-owner and general manager. “Our membership truly enjoys the professional and personal attention extended by our friend Marty Carr and his team and it’s reassuring to know we’re personally met and greeted at each place we stay, dine and play by this incredible golf travel company.”

"Having known Kevin and Steve for over 15 years, I am delighted to formalize this partnership with likeminded friends,” says Marty Carr, executive chairman of Carr Golf. “Carr Golf has been creating unique local experiences and memories for life in Scotland & Ireland for 30 years and we share Quail Valley's values and their unwavering commitment to excellent service and experiences"

For more information on Carr Golf: www.carrgolf.com, 1.855.617.5701 (U.S. toll free) or +353.1.822 6662.

Medalist Austin Eckroat Wins First-Round Match at 70th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

(ANDOVER, Kan.) – Austin Eckroat, 18, of Edmond, Okla., turned in another bogey-free round Wednesday, advancing to the second round of match play in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the par-71, 7,049-yard Flint Hills National Golf Club. Eckroat, the medalist by two strokes, defeated Skyler Eubank, 17, of Meridian, Idaho, 5 and 3, in the Round of 64.

Eckroat, who equaled the championship’s stroke-play record with a 36-hole score of 10-under-par 132, took a 2-up lead with a birdie on the drivable 321-yard, par-4 sixth. He closed out the match with birdies on holes 14 and 15. He hit a 7-iron to within 20 feet on the par-3 14th and struck a three-quarter pitching wedge to close range that resulted in a conceded putt on the par-4 15th.

“Today was more like the first day [of stroke play] on the ball-striking,” said Eckroat, whose opponent reached the 64-player match-play bracket after making a birdie on the third extra hole in a 10-for-1 playoff Tuesday evening. “I didn’t make anything really, but I was hitting it well enough to where I didn’t need to make all those putts.”

The U.S. Junior Amateur continues with the second and third rounds of match play on Thursday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played Friday. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Saturday, starting at 7 a.m. CDT. Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will provide coverage all three days.

Eckroat, who reached the Round of 16 in last year’s Junior Amateur at The Honors Course and won his second Oklahoma Class 6A state high school championship this year, acknowledged some pressure heading into his first-round match.

“I did, just knowing that I’m expected to play well again,” said Eckroat, who has not posted a bogey in 51 holes played this week. “It’s a little different feeling, but it’s the opposite, too. I know I am playing really well.”

Defending champion Min Woo Lee, 18, of Australia, was not as fortunate, losing to Noah Norton, 18, of Chico, Calif., in the first round, 2 and 1. Norton, the runner-up in this year’s California State Amateur, won four consecutive holes on the outward nine and never trailed thereafter.

“I was kind of bummed when we had to play each other,” said Norton, who reached the Round of 64 in last year’s Junior Amateur. “It’s a match you don’t want to have in the first round, because he’s a great player.”

Lee, who was attempting to become the third player to win multiple U.S. Junior Amateurs, took an early 2-up advantage before Norton’s decisive run. Norton maintained his lead with a birdie on No. 12 before ending the match with a winning par on No. 17.

“Pretty disappointed,” said Lee, who became the fourth international Junior Amateur champion last year. “I didn’t lose to a bad player. I just didn’t produce shots when I needed to.”

Brandon Mancheno, the No. 2 seed, and John Pak, the No. 4 seed, were also upset in the first round. Alvin Kwak, 16, of Mukilteo, Wash., defeated Mancheno, 17, of Jacksonville, Fla., 1 up. Angelo Giantsopoulos, 17, of Canada, upended Pak, 3 and 1.

Kwak, a rising junior at Kamiak High School who lived in Korea for eight years, made an extraordinary winning par on the final hole, a 491-yard par 5. He sent his tee shot into the right woods, punched out, hit a 210-yard hybrid to just off the right side of green and two-putted from 55 feet.

“I was hoping it [the first putt] would stop,” he said. “I was lucky the greens were slow, because I am not very good with fast greens.”

Kwak held an early 3-up lead before Mancheno, who set the course record with an 8-under 63 in the first round of stroke play, rallied to go in front on the inward nine. But Kwak squared the match on No. 16 when he curled in a big, breaking 20-foot birdie putt from the back of the green.

Giantsopoulos went ahead in his match with a two-putt par on No. 14 after Pak pulled his tee shot that led to a bogey. Giantsopoulos later sank a 20-foot downhill birdie putt on the par-4 16th for a 2-up lead. Pak, who advanced to match play for the fourth consecutive year and was a semifinalist in 2016, tried to be aggressive off the tee on the next hole but hit it into the water hazard.

“I kept it on the course,” said Giantsopoulos, who listed a runner-up finish in the Ontario Provincial Championship as his previous biggest accomplishment. “I didn’t make too many mistakes off the tee. My putting just really came through today.”

Cole Ponich, the No. 3 seed, and Joshua Armstrong, the No. 5 seed, each advanced in tightly contested matches. Ponich, 17, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the 17th hole with par en route to a 1-up victory over Alex Jamieson, 18, of Duxbury, Mass. Armstrong, 18, of Australia, made a 15-foot birdie putt to win in 19 holes against Colin Bowles, 17, of Albany, Ga.

Cole Hammer, 17, of Houston, Texas, moved past the first round of match play for the third year in a row, recording a 4-and-3 victory over George McNeely, 16, of Carmel, Calif. Hammer built an early lead, slowed in the middle of the match, but then wrapped things up with birdies on holes 12 and 15. He hit a punch-cut 5-iron to within 6 feet on the par-4 12th and delivered a 9-iron to within 8 feet on No. 15.

“It’s so important to stay focused on the shot you’re hitting because if you get ahead of yourself, stuff can get going out of whack,” said Hammer, who competed in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. “And that’s kind of what I’ve had trouble with the last couple of years.”

Last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up, Noah Goodwin, 17, of Corinth, Texas, advanced to the second round with a 3-and-2 triumph over Dylan Fritz, 15, of Las Vegas, Nev. Goodwin won two of the last four holes with birdies. Eugene Hong, 17, of Orlando, Fla., had his string of playing in two consecutive semifinals halted. Hong, the No. 6 seed, was defeated, 2 and 1, by Ryan Hall, 17, of Knoxville, Tenn.

Hometown favorite Wells Padgett, 18, of Wichita, Kan., came from 3 down with three holes to play before losing to Ryan Smith, 15, of Carlsbad, Calif., in 22 holes, the longest match of the day.

The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday Joins the Nextgengolf Team as National Sponsor

Golf’s Most Popular Destination Teams Up With Game’s Leading Millennial Outreach Program

(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) – As golf continues to look for ways to attract more young players, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday has entered into a sponsorship agreement with Nextgengolf, an organization that targets competitive and recreational millennials to help engage them with the game.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, the driving force behind the Grand Strand’s emergence as America’s most popular destination, is now a national sponsor for Nextgengolf. As part of the program, Nextgengolf will annually host a minimum of four events, including one national championship, in Myrtle Beach, and the Grand Strand will have a marketing presence at 185 Nextgengolf events across the nation.

“Introducing the game’s next generation of players to the virtues of a Myrtle Beach golf trip is vital to the continuing strength of our market,” said Bill Golden, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday’s president. “Nextgengolf is the game’s leading grassroots effort to engage millennials with the game, and we are looking forward to a creative partnership that will promote the long-term health of the Myrtle Beach market and the game.”

Myrtle Beach will be the official Spring Break destination for Nextgengolf. The Nextgengolf team will work with the Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday staff on promotion and branding of other opportunities such as Bachelor Party, Buddies Trips and High School Golf Team Training.

Nextgengolf connects with golfers in their 20s and 30s through their two core team-based golf services the National Collegiate Golf Club Association (NCGCA, college students) and the City Tour (young adults). “We are excited to be partnering with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday,” said Kris Hart, Nextgengolf, CEO. “Myrtle Beach has the right recipe for success for the go-to golf destination in the US for young adults. We look forward to our partnership and showcasing what Myrtle Beach has to offer to our community.”

The NCGCA targets golfers who aren’t playing on a collegiate team but want to continue to push themselves in a competitive environment. There are 115+ regional NCGCA tournaments throughout the country and unlike varsity collegiate golf, NCCGA club teams are co-ed, student-run and inclusive. Some campuses have hundreds of students in their golf clubs!

The City Tour, which launched in 2014, appeals to recreational and competitive golfers throughout the summer who are between 18 and 39 years old. Starting on June 10th, there will be monthly events in 20 cities in 2017 with more than 15,000 golfers under the age of 40 expected to participate. The City Tour season ends on September 16th and 17th with the City Tour Championship at Myrtle Beach’s own True Blue and Caledonia.

For more information, visit www.MyrtleBeachGolfHoliday.com or NextGenGolf.org.

Silvies Valley Ranch Debuts Authentic Western Retreat in July

Silvies Valley Ranch Opens New Frontier Boutique Resort and Two 18-Hole Reversible Golf Courses to Golfers and Travelers

(SILVIES, OREGON) – Silvies Valley Ranch, a new frontier boutique resort in the pure West, is merging luxury and relaxation with an authentic Western ranch experience that is now open to guests and travelers. Located along historic U.S. Route 395 between Bend and Boise, and created by the Campbell family, who have roots in the area dating back to 1863, The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch will bring the Western mystique of the region to an intimate scale. The full-service eco-resort features lodging, a gourmet restaurant featuring ranch-raised, grass finished, organic beef and chevon, two reversible 18-hole golf courses, multiple exclusive outdoor experiences, a spa (to open in 2018), and a private airstrip for guests looking to fly directly onto the property.

“We are excited to share Silvies Valley Ranch, our home which is so near and dear to our hearts, with the rest of the world,” said Dr. Scott Campbell. “With an incredible setting, luxurious, Western-styled accommodations, and activities for every type of guest, our hope is that visitors from far and wide will enjoy their travels to the ranch and continue to visit for generations to come.”

Silvies Valley Ranch provides visitors with a one-of-a-kind golf experience, featuring two reversible 18-hole courses - the Hankins course and Craddock course. The direction of the routing is reversed each day to create an alternate layout with a variety of setups for players.

One memorable element to the golf experience at Silvies Valley Ranch takes place on No. 18 on the Hankins course. Named the “Hixson Hole,” this hole presents the 12 legal advantages in golf to guarantee players will “nail it” off the tee and reach their longest recorded drive. Players will be rewarded with a “Silvies Horseshoe Nail,” the signature drink of the ranch, after hitting their longest drive.

Silvies Valley Ranch also features a par-3 course, Chief Egan, named for the last Paiute War Chief. Chief Egan highlights the beauty of the region and offers a fun playing experience with water features on every hole.

In July 2018, a stunning 7-hole fun course, McVeigh’s Gauntlet, will be added to the golf experience at the ranch. McVeigh’s Gauntlet will bring players to the edge of a razor back mountain and showcase the property’s dramatic elevation changes and breathtaking scenery.

Off the course, visitors have the chance to explore the resort grounds that only a few years ago were inhabited by Native Americans and worked by hearty Pioneers. Guests are able to learn the innovative practices of a working ranch from Silvies Valley Ranch team members. Outdoor activities such as cattle drives, American Range Goat herding, shooting ranges, fishing, and more are offered at the Ranch, bringing out the inner-cowboy in all those who visit.

Culinary options on the property include The Lodge and Egan’s Hideout clubhouse which is completely aligned with the ranch’s standards of sustainability. Limited in-suite dining and outside catering are also available, as well as numerous entertaining spaces for rustic, gourmet picnics and gatherings for group outings and events. Perhaps the most unique dining option is the full-service chuck wagon, available both day and night for special occasions. All on-site restaurants serve western-inspired fare, including ranch-raised Silvies Valley Ranch Certified Organic grass finished beef and chevon.

For those looking to wake up at the crack of dawn, get their hands dirty and “dine” from an authentic chuck-wagon at the end of a hard day’s work in the Wild West, look no further than this Western retreat. With endless accommodation styles, an unending list of activities, and a variety of golf and travel packages available online, Silvies Valley Ranch is simply amazing.

For more information about Silvies Valley Ranch, call 1-800-SILVIES, email info@silviesvalleyranch.com or visit www.silviessimplyamazing.com.