Wednesday, August 16, 2017

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Introduces New Venues, Grows Participation and Drives Business

(LAS VEGAS) — The 2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 14-16, welcomed thousands of PGA Professionals, golf buyers and business leaders from 45 U.S. states and 30 countries to Las Vegas for three busy days of merchandise sourcing, product testing, education, professional networking and special events.

Two new event venues were extremely well received by attending professionals – the annual Pro-Pro Tournament moved to the award-winning TPC Las Vegas and the PGA Demo Experience relocated to the climate-controlled environment of Topgolf Las Vegas – a flagship property of the popular golf entertainment destination. Merchandise exhibits, special events and education programs returned to the upscale setting of the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Hotel.

The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience featured the participation of nearly 200 golf companies and brands including up-and-coming designers, entrepreneurs entering the market, veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands and market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge and Wilson. Top apparel brands took advantage of the upscale PGA Fashion & Demo Experience setting and simultaneous timing of Las Vegas Fashion Week including brands such as Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines and Zero Restriction.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas comes at an ideal time of year and serves a vital purpose for those PGA Professionals who are preparing budgets and making business decisions for 2018," noted PGA President Paul Levy. "For those PGA Professionals in Sun Belt regions and in the western United States, it is especially convenient to come to Las Vegas in August to catch up on what is happening in the golf industry, discover the latest merchandise and update themselves with education, instruction and business seminars. It has been a very worthwhile and productive three days."

Attendance at the PGA Demo Experience nearly doubled and education conference participation was up 18 percent. Influential PGA Professionals and buyers, traveling from 45 states and 30 countries, joined industry leaders and a crossover of apparel buyers from Las Vegas Fashion Week trade shows to build strong buyer engagement with vendors on the Show Floor. PGA Professional attendance was up 8 percent and key buyer attendance up 1 percent, while overall attendance decreased slightly. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, Korea, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Texas.


2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Highlights
Pro-Pro Tournament
In the 4th Annual PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Pro-Pro Tournament on Monday, Aug. 14, at breezy TPC Las Vegas, four teams tied for the title at 5-under-par 66 in the four-ball competition. That meant a playoff for the second consecutive year, a familiar position for the team of PGA Professionals Travis Long and Troy Helseth of Anthem Country Club in suburban Las Vegas, who fell in a dramatic seven-hole playoff in 2016.

"That’s the second straight year we have bogeyed the final hole to drop into a playoff," lamented Helseth, lauding the move by tournament officials to play an alternate-shot format to expedite the playoff and accommodate eight players. "It was a lot of fun out there – we love this event and the golf course was in great condition. The wind came up the last six or seven holes and it was difficult, but it was tough for everybody."

In the alternate-shot playoff, the team of Karrin Dickinson and Matthew Brooks of Superstition Mountain in Gold Canyon, Arizona, parred the first hole (the par-4 10th) to earn the $2,400 first-place check. Eric Lohman and Chi Choi of Monarch Beach Golf Links in Florida; the team of Richard Prange-D.K. Kim of Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Las Vegas "locals" of Long and Helseth shared second, third and fourth-place money.

PGA Demo Experience
Following the tournament, industry professionals turned out in large numbers to fill the hitting bays and test the newest equipment and technology at the all-new PGA Demo Experience, Aug. 14, in the climate-controlled, exciting setting of Topgolf Las Vegas. Market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge, Wilson and many others offered products for testing in the sold-out Topgolf Level 1 hitting bays. Putting demonstrations were available on a specially-designed putting green in the East Room and PGA Professionals and buyers browsed the newest golf merchandise in an indoor marketplace in the Central and West Rooms. Additionally, skills contests and industry networking in the popular golf entertainment destination made it an enjoyable evening for all.

"Topgolf is the perfect venue for a testing opportunity like this. It’s a high energy, fun environment where everyone can enjoy themselves, have a bite to eat and hit some golf balls," said Aaron Bonar, PGA Professional at Woods N’ Irons in Burleson, Texas.

Titleist returned to the PGA Show in Las Vegas and PGA Professionals filled their hitting bays at Topgolf to test the newest irons. "The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf has been a tremendous opportunity for us to show everyone our new 718 AP3 irons for the first time while connecting and networking with so many PGA Professionals. We’re happy to say that the early feedback on our AP3 irons has been tremendous," said John Hahn, Titleist sales representative.

Marty Lass, PGA Head Professional at Edina Country Club in Minneapolis, attended his first PGA Fashion & Demo Experience this year. "We don’t usually get to see the new equipment from so many major manufacturers at this time of year in Minnesota, so the PGA Demo Experience has been exceptional. To have Titleist, TaylorMade, PING, Callaway, Cobra, Srixon along with Miura, Wilson and Tour Edge and so many others is a big, big plus. It was great to see so many companies."

"The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf was a home run for PING and for the golf industry," said PING regional sales manager Gene Graham. "There was a lot of energy and interest, and I would say it was one of the best-attended Demo Experiences I have seen in many years in Las Vegas. We were able to let PGA Professionals and industry leaders test our new G400 series of drivers, fairways and irons, so that was a great opportunity for us to connect with new and existing accounts. The PGA Demo Experience was a win-win for everyone involved."

Show Floor of the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 15-16, PGA Professionals and golf buyers filled the aisles of the Palazzo Ballroom in search of the newest merchandise for their members and customers among some of the best brands in golf with a special focus on golf fashion. Top apparel brands included Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines, Zero Restriction and many others.

Veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands, up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs entering the market showed off their newest merchandise to interested buyers looking for the perfect mix of popular, trending and new products.

"This has been a very productive PGA Show for us," said Steve Coan, Trade Marketing Manager for FootJoy. "We bring in four FootJoy representatives from surrounding states and they were pre-booked with appointments almost from start to finish. They are writing orders and our stop-by traffic also has been very steady. The PGA Las Vegas Show is a good investment, because we are able to see and serve several accounts from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and other states, but we also had good meetings with some of our key national accounts."

Attendees were able to easily navigate the PGA Show Floor and source from a comprehensive product mix.

"This was my first PGA Show in Las Vegas, and I liked how easy it is to see everything on the Show floor," said Diana D’Alessio, PGA Professional at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I saw a lot of new, unique items I haven't seen from vendors who visit us, so it was a successful trip. There were some training aids and apparel companies I haven't seen before, so it was a good opportunity to become acquainted with their lines of products."

One newcomer to the event included ZeroTie shoes, golf shoes featuring a hands-free tying mechanism. "The traffic and the interest in our no-tie lines of footwear have been phenomenal at our first Las Vegas PGA Show. We weren’t sure what to expect, since this is a new product on the golf scene, but the response has been fabulous," said Jim Hand, regional manager of ZeroTie.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience was very productive for us from several perspectives," said Dave Leveille, president of Oxford, which introduced a full collection of apparel, shoes and outerwear at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience. "We felt we needed to create a full lifestyle brand, something you can wear every day with a more sophisticated color palate. Our performance apparel has been very well received. The key to good performance apparel is care, and our lines are some of the easiest to care for in the business."

Live Fashion Show
Tuesday evening, Aug. 15, concluded with the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Live Fashion Show and Networking Reception. Many of the latest golf lifestyle collections by the industry’s top designers were showcased as the runway production was emceed by Golf Channel Host, Reporter and Writer Bailey Mosier.

Live Fashion Show participating brands included Birdies and Bows, Callaway Golf Apparel, Daily Sports, Denise Cronwall Activewear, Garb Inc, Idil Tarzi Fashion Design, Jofit, Just4Golf, Kevan Hall Sport, LIJA, Movêtes, SKECHERS, Straight Down Clothing Co., Travis Mathew Apparel, Under Armour and Wellness Interactive Branding.

Immediately following the Live Fashion Show, exhibitor booths remained open for business during a Networking Reception for buyers to enjoy the extended hours to explore, browse, and discuss all the latest finds on the Show Floor.

Education Conference
In addition to a vibrant Show Floor, PGA Professionals took advantage of a full schedule of certification programs, daily keynote presentations and classroom sessions focusing on instruction, leadership, golf fitness, retail and marketing during the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Education Conference, Aug. 14-16.

"The timing of the PGA Show in Las Vegas is perfect for me, and I've never seen such a variety of teaching seminars," said Mark Peterson, PGA Professional at Carthage (Missouri) Golf Course.

The keynote presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 15, featured PGA of America Chief Membership Officer John Easterbrook, PGA, moderating a special panel discussion titled "Characteristics of PGA Members Sought After by Top Employers." Panelists included Troon Golf Chairman and CEO Dana Garmany, PGA; GolfTEC CEO and Co-Founder Joe Assell, PGA; and UNLV PGA Golf Management Program Director Dr. Chris Cain, PGA.

On Aug. 16, the keynote focused on teaching with "Best Business Practices of Award-Winning Instructors." PGA Master Professional Dawes Marlatt, Senior Director of Education & Organizational Development for the PGA of America, moderated a panel that included 2016 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Adams, 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska, and 2015 LPGA Teacher of the Year and PGA Master Professional Alison Curdt.

"I always find something new at the Las Vegas PGA Show product-wise, and the education seminars were exceptional. Learning from our peers and industry experts has always been one of my favorite parts of attending any PGA Show," said Michael Stilson, PGA Professional at Morrow Bay Golf Course in Cambria, Calif.

Tuesday afternoon, PGA Professionals heard an update on PGA of America membership initiatives and were able to ask questions during a PGA Town Hall featuring PGA President Paul Levy and Easterbrook.

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Award Winners
PGA Professionals and top golf industry buyers voted for the best new product among the merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Showcase. The 2017 New Product Showcase winner is SelfieGOLF USA, a versatile training system allowing the user to capture hands-free video with complete stability from any position or any surface. www.selfiegolfusa.com

Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers also voted one exhibitor new to the PGA Show as the Top Buyers Choice. The 2017 Top Buyers Choice is Tzu Tzu Sport, colorful golfwear infused with eye-catching embellishments, sassy details and a flattering fit. www.tzutzusport.com

2018 PGA Shows – Save the Dates
The 2018 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 23-26, in Orlando. Visit PGAShow.com for detailed information. The 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience is scheduled for Aug. 13-15, in Las Vegas. Visit PGALasVegas.com for detailed information.

Team Secret Golf Pros Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller to Compete on the US Solheim Team

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) – Team Secret Golf LPGA professionals Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller look to lead the United States team in the upcoming Solheim Cup matches. The biggest team event in women’s international golf features a trio of American players who have combined to represent the USA in 12 Solheim Cup competitions.

“We are delighted three members of Team Secret Golf are on the American Solheim Cup team,” said Steve Elkington, the co-founder of Secret Golf and a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 1995 PGA Championship and both the 1991 and 1997 Players Championship. “It’s really no surprise that Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang are on the team. Stacy is one of the most ferocious match play competitors there is.  Gerina holed the pressure putts in Germany for the U.S. team and Brittany is a U.S. Women’s Open champion.”

In 2015, the U.S. side rallied in Germany for a dramatic come-from-behind final day to win the closest Solheim Cup in history and boast a 9-5 record in the series that dates back to 1990. This year’s addition of the biennial event, which features teams from Europe and the U.S., will be contested August 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.

It will be Piller’s third appearance on the U.S. team, as she enjoys a 3-2-2 record in the event. In 2015, she went unbeaten with three wins and one-half.  A dramatic putt on the final hole secured a 1up victory over Caroline Masson and capped America’s historical comeback. Teaming with Lewis, the duo was dominate as they won both their four-ball and foursomes matches, the most impressive being a 5&4 victory over Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.

Piller also teamed with Lang to earn half a point in the day one four-ball matches.

“I am so honored to represent my country again on the Solheim Cup team,” said Piller, who has played on the LPGA Tour since 2010. “I cannot wait to compete with my teammates. This will be fun.”

 Lang, in her fifth competition, looks to replicate a stellar 2013 performance when she picked up three points for her side. The 2016 U.S. Open Champion has earned 6.5 career points in the event. A veteran of many matches, the experience never gets old.

“I am thrilled to be competing again on the Solheim Cup team,” said Lang.” I want to make fun memories with my teammates and play some great golf. This is such an honor.”

Lewis picked up two wins in four matches in 2015 to post 4.5 points in her career. With two major victories to her credit – the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship and the 2013 Women’s British Open – she looks to join her Secret Golf colleagues in helping the U.S. retain the Solheim Cup this year
The first LPGA Tour sanctioned event in Iowa since 1966, and the first in the state capital since 1956, combined with the unlikely U.S. victory in 2015 sets the stage for an electric competition. LPGA Commissioner Micheal Wan described the upcoming event as an atmosphere that might be found at a football game mixed with a soccer match and a mixed martial arts bout. Sports Illustrated called it “the biggest thing to hit Iowa since the Pope.”

“The Solheim Cup is very intense,” explained Elkington. “It’s so important for each team. The women’s game is just as good as the men’s game. It’s so exciting to watch. There will be huge crowds in Iowa. Our three Team Secret Golf players are absolute gunslingers.”

Team Secret Golf features 17 professionals, including former major champions Jackie Burke, Jr., Elkington, Jason Dufner, Lang and Lewis, and now has claimed 111 events collectively on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Web.com Tour.

For more information about Secret Golf, visit www.secretgolf.com.

Leona Maguire Wins Mark H. McCormack Medal for Third Consecutive Year

(FAR HILLS, N.J. and ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND) – Leona Maguire, of Ireland, has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2017 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

Maguire has enjoyed another excellent season having won the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship and finished joint runner-up in the 2017 NCAA Championship individual standings, notching three wins in 10 starts in the 2016-17 season and finishing in the top six in every event. The 22-year-old, who will shortly begin her senior year at Duke University, also earned the Annika Award as the national player of the year for the second time in her career.

“It’s a huge honour for me,” said Maguire, of Co Cavan. “To win it once was one thing, but to win it three times is quite a humbling feeling. I know there have been some great names before me, but to have my name on there three times is something very special and something that I am very proud of.”

Maguire was voted the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Player of the Year for 2016-17, the second time she has received the accolade.

She has seven victories from her collegiate career, and finished tied for 21st while representing Ireland in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Maguire narrowly missed out on winning the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur in the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open, and she also competed in the U.S. Women’s Open and the Marathon Classic on the LPGA Tour. She will round off the season with another major championship appearance in the Evian Championship next month.

The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award recognizes Maguire’s outstanding performances this year and is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.

“Leona deserves huge credit for maintaining such a high level of performance over the last three seasons and is indeed a worthy winner of the McCormack Medal,” said Duncan Weir, The R&A’s Executive Director - Golf Development. “To remain top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking for as long as she has, shows that Leona has a tremendous competitive spirit as well as an excellent all-round game. I would like to congratulate her on the award and wish her well in her final year at college.”

“On behalf of the USGA, our most sincere congratulations to the talented Leona Maguire for earning the esteemed McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year, joining only Lydia Ko, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013, as a three-time winner,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships & Governance. “It certainly illustrates her impressive play in high-profile events over an extended time, and, clearly, she is quite deserving of this distinction. Well done, Leona.”

The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,600 counting events, ranking 6,000 players from 103 countries worldwide. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,400 counting events with over 2,700 ranked players from 73 countries worldwide.

KemperSports Selected to Manage St. James Bay Golf Resort

(NORTHBROOK, Ill.) – KemperSports has been selected to manage St. James Bay Golf Resort in Carrabelle, Fla. Located amid the popular travel destination of the Florida panhandle and less than 50 miles southwest of Tallahassee, Fla., St. James Bay Golf Resort enjoys a strong reputation as one of the top resort communities in the region along with serving as one of the most popular lodging destinations for traveling outdoor enthusiasts.

“St. James Bay Golf Resort has remained a popular destination for nearly 15 years,” said John Green, President of Lynnwood Development. “We look forward to working with KemperSports and implementing their best practices to enhance the experience for our guests at the resort.”

Under new ownership, the cornerstone of the resort community is the 18-hole championship golf course. Certified as an Audubon International Certified Signature Sanctuary on behalf of the courses commitment to environmentally-efficient agronomy practices, the Robert Walker-designed golf course provides strategic options throughout the fun and inspired bay front layout.

The par-72, 6,600-yard public golf course is well-known as one of the most finely-conditioned golf courses in the state and includes water hazards on most holes. The course was built to provide a strong test of golf for low-handicap players who choose to challenge the hazards and bunkers while delivering a resort golf experience for casual golfers.

Built in 2003, the golf course remains one of the top golf courses in the state and was ranked in 2016 by Golf Advisor as no. 19 on its list of the best courses in Florida.

The resort experience is rounded out by four golf villas surrounding the clubhouse and Crooked River Grill as well as residential condominiums overlooking the golf course. The condos offer recently-remodeled two and three-bedroom units with kitchen and private pool access.

“We are proud to manage St. James Bay Golf Resort,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “It has a strong reputation and is well regarded in the market. We look forward to working with the ownership and staff to elevate all areas of the guest experience and create a truly memorable place.”

KemperSports will begin operations on August 14, 2017, and will immediately implement its best in class marketing and service programs, including TrueService – the company’s proprietary customer service training program the goal of which to deliver genuine, helpful and friendly service to every St. James Bay guest.

Course Spotlight: Valley of the Eagles

American Golfer recently had the opportunity to play a preview round at Valley of the Eagles Golf Club - the only Nicklaus Design daily-fee course in Northern Ohio. Set on the site of the former Spring Valley Country Club and meandering along the Black River, Valley of the Eagles has been completely redesigned by the team from Nicklaus Design and is managed by industry-leading Troon. Enjoy a handful of images from the day.

The opening hole (above) is a dogleg-right par 4 playing 360 yards from the tips. Don't let the short yardage fool you, however, as water comes into play from tee to green and a pair of fairway bunkers threaten even safe tee shots.
Jack Nicklaus is known to design long par 3s. His team followed the leader with the back tee on No. 5 at Valley of the Eagles (above). This monster measures 276 yards and is all of 250 yards to carry the direct path! The four front tees are no picnic, either, with bunkers short, tall grasses right and the Black River guarding the left.
No. 10 (above) shares a tee box with No. 1 and plays in the shadow of the clubhouse, starter's station, and the future home of a Beer Garden. All this, combined with a pond, two deep bunkers and a shallow green, make this short par 3 a little intimidating.
Every course has a signature hole ... the hole everyone remembers the most. At Valley of the Eagles, that may turn out to be No. 14 (above). This par 4 requires a well-placed tee shot - too far left and you're in the Black River, while too far right and your approach becomes extremely difficult. As for that approach, it's to a tiny green on a slightly less-tiny island. My 120-yard wedge shot traveled 115 yards (wet). The shot following a drop wasn't much easier.
Considering how much the Black River comes into play throughout the round, it's only fitting that golfers must carry it one more time on the par 5 finishing hole (above). A big drive will allow you an opportunity to go at the green in two, but it's probably wise to play this 569-yarder as a three-shot par 5.

Slope and handicap are still being calculated at the moment, but by the official opening in October, all will be finalized.

When complete, the Valley of the Eagles expansive clubhouse (24,000-square-feet) 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.

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.

Hayden Wood Earns U.S. Amateur Medalist Honors with Record Score

(PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.) – Oklahoma State University junior Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Okla., broke the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying record with a total of 131 to earn medalist honors Tuesday in the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship.

Playing in his second U.S. Amateur, Wood posted a 3-under-par 67 that included four birdies and a bogey at Bel-Air Country Club, which followed his 6-under 64 at The Riviera Country Club in the first round on Monday.

The championship’s 36-hole stroke-play record had been 132, shared by Hank Kim in 1994, Gregor Main in 2011 and Bobby Wyatt in 2012.

“It feels good, with 312 guys it is awesome,” Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Wood, 21, is the son of 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and PGA Tour Champions player Willie Wood.

“I've changed my course management,” said Wood, who was runner-up in the 2015 Southwestern Amateur. “It’s a lot more conservative. I felt like I've been playing well all summer, but sometimes I would get in my own way, and so I've changed my course management.

“I just switched to a new putter and my speed has been a lot better. I haven’t three-putted so far, and to do that at these two courses is a testament to some good speed.”

One of the players who shared the first-round lead with Wood, University of Oregon sophomore Norman Xiong, of San Diego, Calif., shot an even-par 70 at Bel-Air for a 36-hole total of 134, good for the No. 2 match-play seed behind Wood.

“It was fun,” said Xiong, 18, who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago. “I played some really solid golf. I did what I needed to do and got through to match play, which is the biggest goal.”

A trio of players finished 36 holes at 4-under 136, five strokes behind Wood: George Washington University junior Logan Lowe of Grass Valley, Calif.; Vanderbilt University senior Theo Humphrey of Greenwich, Conn.; and University of Alabama senior Lee Hodges of Ardmore, Tenn.

The other first-round co-leader, Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond Va., shot 73 at Riviera and finished at 137 along with Joaquin Niemann, of Chile, who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™.

Both courses played at par 70 for the championship. Riviera, the host site of the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open, won by Hale Irwin, played at 7,272 yards. Bel-Air, which hosted the U.S. Amateur the last time it was played in Southern California in 1976, as well as the 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur, played at 6,757 yards.

Brad Dalke, of Norman, Okla., last year’s finalist to champion Curtis Luck, shot rounds of 75-77 to miss the match-play draw, along with 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, Calif., who missed the playoff by two strokes after rounds of 72-74.

There will be six rounds of match play, beginning on Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. The Round of 32 and the Round of 16 are scheduled on Thursday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 7:45 a.m. PDT.

A 13-for-8 playoff for the final match-play berths is set for 7:30 a.m. at Riviera. The playoff starts on the drivable par-4 10th hole, followed by holes 14 through 18 with No. 18 repeated as needed until the final spots are filled.

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

Golf Pride Trusted to Win Wanamaker Trophy and Grip Count at 2017 PGA 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 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 2017 PGA Champion trusted Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Cord in his hands to conquer the hot and humid conditions as he earned his first major championship victory.  The #1 Grip in Golf was played by 10 of the 12 top 10 finishers and overall, 81 percent of players competing in the season’s final major trusted their games to Golf Pride. Of the 20 PGA Professionals at the PGA Championship, an astounding 19 trusted Golf Pride as they competed at the game’s highest level.  

“For amateurs, PGA Professionals and TOUR players alike improving performance is at the top of everyone’s minds at Golf Pride,” said Brandon Sowell, global sales and marketing director for Golf Pride. “Seeing the world’s best players choose Golf Pride validates our drive to continuously innovate with performance technology that improves player performance.”

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 www.golfpride.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Keswick Hall & Golf Club’s ‘Full Cry Golf Package’ Ideal for Fall Getaway

Unlimited Play on Acclaimed Pete Dye-Designed Course, Splendid Five-Star Accommodations

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) – Keswick Hall & Golf Club – the celebrated Forbes Five-Star, 600-acre luxury resort – is offering its “Full Cry Golf Package” as an ideal getaway to stay-and-play in the autumn splendor of Virginia’s scenic Hunt Country.

The outstanding Full Cry Golf Package starts at $349 per night (based on availability). It features accommodations in Keswick Hall’s historic 48-room luxury hotel, unlimited play for two on the acclaimed Pete Dye-designed Full Cry at Keswick Golf Club course (with cart), welcome round of a glass of house wine or local draft on arrival, and a $50 pro shop credit to use during the stay.

Guests also receive unlimited access to the resort’s world-class practice facility and driving range. Visitors will also discover gourmet dining in Fossett’s, the resort’s award-winning restaurant featuring regionally inspired cuisine, as well as immaculate customer service befitting a five-star property.

“The scenic wonder of our area compelled Thomas Jefferson to call this beautiful part of Virginia ‘the Eden of the U.S.,” says John Trevenen, General Manager. “Autumn is glorious here and we invite our guests to enjoy unlimited play on our Pete Dye-designed golf course and savor a world-class resort experience."

Since opening in late fall of 2014, Full Cry has received accolade after accolade including being ranked No. 4 in Golfweek’s 2017 roster of “Best Courses You Can Play” in Virginia as well as ranked No. 45 in Golfweek’s prestigious “Best Resort Courses” in the U.S. Full Cry was also honored in Golf Digest’s coveted “2015 Best New Courses.” Players of all abilities will savor the experience of this scenic Dye masterpiece.

The region is also home to Jefferson’s Monticello, the University of Virginia and numerous outdoor pursuits, drawing history buffs, wine lovers, sports enthusiasts and nature seekers year-round. Keswick Hall and Golf Club additionally features an array of relaxing spa services, fine dining at Fossett’s, and myriad amenities. Highly decorated, it has attained Condé Nast Traveler “gold” status, and is one of Travel + Leisure’s 500 “World’s Best Hotels.”

Tee-times are also based on availability. Taxes / additional fees are not included.

For more information on Keswick Hall & Golf Club visit www.keswick.com or call 434.979.3440.

Bermuda Sands Congratulates Brand Ambassador on Good Neighbor Award

(Charlotte, NC) – Bermuda Sands, makers of exceptional leisure and golf  apparel, congratulate Good Neighbor Award winner and Bermuda Sands brand ambassador, Robert Stennett.  

The Good Neighbor Award is part of the Fort Hood Good Neighbor Program, recognizing members of the local community whose contributions have significantly enhanced the well being of soldiers and family members who reside at Fort Hood.

On August 2, the 20th anniversary of the award took place. Robert Stennett is CEO of the Ben Hogan Foundation, dedicated to honoring the legacy of golf champion Ben Hogan by promoting the game of golf through expansion of Ben Hogan Learning Centers. Stennett is responsible for organizing and bringing the Ben Hogan Classic golf tournament, a military appreciation event to honor and support the soldiers who serve our country, to Fort Hood.

“We are honored and excited for Robert to receive this award,” stated Tim Garrett, Vice President of Sales at Bermuda Sands. “His military appreciation event is a fantastic way for us to say thank you to the men and women who serve our country.”  

“This award is a great honor,” said Robert Stennett. “We couldn’t create these events without strong support from our community, and receiving this award is receiving it for all our volunteers; I am truly honored.”  

Bermuda Sands apparel has the great fortune of supporting the Ben Hogan Classic through donated apparel for the event.  

Visit bermudasandsapparel.com for more information.

KZG Introduces RSG Wedges

(PALM DESERT, Calif.) - KZG, the No. 1 Custom ProLine, launches the RSG Wedges, the ideal short game tools.

The RSG Wedges feature a classic profile with a standard grind. They are engineered with a slightly softened leading edge to preclude digging and a relieved trailing edge for shot versatility.

Every RSG Wedge features a micro-milled face and laser cut scorelines to assure increased spin rates from all lies and in all conditions. KZG uses a softer grade of stainless steel and heat treats the RSG clubheads to give a “Feel of Forged” without the cost of a forged clubhead. Each Wedge is beautifully balanced for consistent performance.

The RSG Wedges are best suited for those golfers playing on softer conditions. The relieved trailing edge aids the golfer in adapting to more mid to firm courses when needed. Traveling or tournament golfers who play in a myriad of course conditions will find that the RSG Wedges will give them the versatility they need to accommodate various conditions. For players who habitually play on harder conditions they may want to consider KZG’s XRS or XSC Wedges with a C Grind.

“KZG takes great pride in offering every golfer the design features suitable for their unique swing,” reports Jennifer King, President of KZG. “The RSG is one of five models of wedges offered in a myriad of loft and bounce options to perfectly fit every conceivable golfer. We know the performance of the RSG Wedges will be ideal for so many golfers preferring the more popular standard grind and who play in softer conditions. And the RSG truly have the “Feel of Forged” at half the price.”

The RSG Wedges are available in a soft satin finish in the following lofts and bounce options:
- RH: 50,52,54, 56/8, 56/12, 58, 60/4, 60/10
- LH: 52, 56, 60

RSG Wedges are available solely through KZG Authorized Dealers. Every wedge will be personally fit and custom built for the golfer. MSRP starting at $139.00.

For more information on KZG products or KZG’s 3-Day Master Certification Program for Master Clubfitters, visit www.kzg.com or call 1-800-200-8800 or (760) 341-4433.

Arccos Expands Artificial Intelligence Platform with Multiple New Features

Premieres Real-Time “Plays Like” Distance Calculations, Other Features

(STAMFORD, Conn.) – Arccos Golf announced the launch of several new features for Arccos Caddie, golf’s first artificial intelligence (AI) platform, highlighted by real-time “Plays Like” distance calculations that precisely account for the impact wind speed, wind direction and elevation have on how far each shot travels.

Powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Arccos Caddie has been further enhanced with refined machine learning and AI algorithms, as well as persistent displays of wind and elevation data throughout the round. These combine to ensure Arccos Caddie users can shoot lower scores by harnessing advanced analytics to make smarter, data-driven decisions on the course.

“On the PGA Tour, a player and his caddie discuss the impact of wind and elevation before nearly every shot. What they’re factoring is the human equivalent of a ‘Plays Like’ distance,” said Sal Syed, CEO and Co-Founder of Arccos Golf. “Because only about 3% of amateur golfers have access to a caddie, we’re working with Microsoft to democratize that experience. Arccos Caddie leverages the power of AI to help any golfer Go Beyond Guesswork and have even more confidence in their club selection.”

Previously offered as a free Beta version, Arccos Caddie is now accessible as a premium purchase within the Arccos 360 app after a trial period of five rounds. The tiered pricing – $7.99/month, $39.99/six months, $49.99/12 months (plus an additional 30-day trial) – allows users to choose the subscription option which bests suits their needs.

“The PGA TOUR has done a great job of using advanced analytics to help its players practice and perform their best. At other levels of the game, capturing the necessary on-course data has been a real challenge,” said Mike Downey, Director, Principal Evangelist – Sports at Microsoft. “Arccos has cracked that code and built a robust data set which they’re deploying via the Microsoft Azure cloud to the benefit of golfers worldwide.”

Arccos Caddie combines live weather conditions with a data set of more than 75 million shots hit by the Arccos community and 368 million geotagged data points on more than 40,000 courses. The platform can be used by anyone, on nearly any hole in the world, regardless of whether a golfer has previously played the course.

“Arccos users improved their handicap by an average of 2.77 strokes in 2016. The majority of them did that without the advice of an expert caddie,” added Syed. “Arccos Caddie will help every player save even more strokes each round by providing the type of insights and advice previously available only to PGA TOUR pros.”

For more information, visit: www.arccosgolf.com.

4ORE! Opens In Lubbock

(LUBBOCK, TEXAS) – After breaking ground just nine months ago, 4ORE opened its doors to the public on Friday, August 11 at 5 p.m. The 52,000 square-foot facility occupies 16 acres of land at 6909 Marsha Sharp Freeway in Lubbock, Texas.

4ORE offers competitive, golf-simulated games that appeal to all ages and demographics – from beginner to expert players. 4ORE uses advanced Doppler-based technology that tracks the accuracy and distance of each player’s shot and immediately maps the flight of the ball on a monitor for scoring. Players hit from one of 60 climate-controlled tee boxes that are rented by the hour, not per person, and can accommodate up to six guests.

The upscale golf entertainment complex also features an elite training academy with professional instruction, a full-service sports bar and grille, multiple outdoor patios, and an upscale cocktail lounge. 2,500 square feet of private event space is available for both large and small group functions. While 4ORE just opened, numerous private events and fundraisers have already been booked through the end of the year.

The economic impact of 4ORE is already evident with the creation of more than 400 full and part time jobs since November of 2016.

“We’ve been successful in hiring an exceptional team of associates,” said General Manager Patrick Wynn. “They are the driving force behind the exceptional 4ORE brand and the ultimate game-changers for our 4ORE guest experience. They have spent weeks preparing and training for this moment.”

Managing partner, J.J. Killeen, estimates that 4ORE will serve more than 450,000 guests in its first year of operation, many from outside of Lubbock.

“The Lubbock community is growing rapidly and continues to serve as an entertainment hub for west Texas and eastern New Mexico,” said Killeen. “We’re excited to provide a year-round entertainment destination that will bring guests from all over the region to Lubbock.”

First-time guests will be required to purchase a Player’s Card for $5 upon arrival. From the first ball hit, the Player’s Card will begin keeping track of all individual gaming scores and shot data. The data is all recorded and stored on the card for historical analysis and overall performance improvement. This is a one-time fee with no expiration date on the card. Both individual and corporate memberships are currently being sold in limited quantities.

“It’s been a long road to get to where we are today,” said Killeen. “4ORE is the result of countless hours of hard work and dedication by hundreds of individuals over the past nine months. We are proud to be a part of the Lubbock community and want Lubbock to be proud of 4ORE.”
A formal ribbon cutting is scheduled for later this month. For more information, contact Renee Davis at rgdavis@4oregolf.com, or visit www.4OREgolf.com.

Additional Information:
- The two-story facility includes 2,500 square feet of private event space for hosting conferences, corporate outings, social gatherings and parties.
- 4ORE offers competitive golf-simulated games for all ages and skill levels. 4ORE uses advanced Doppler-based technology that will track the accuracy and distance of each player’s shot and immediately map the flight of the ball on a monitor for scoring. Players will be awarded for hitting targets on a turf field. Players will hit from one of 60 climate-controlled tee boxes that can host up to six players at a time. Each tee box is equipped with Callaway golf clubs for both men and women.
- Those looking to relax will enjoy the upscale, laid-back atmosphere that features more than 200 high-definition flat-screen TVs and an ample food and beverage menu.
- 4ORE is home to a sports bar and grille that seats 200 guests with three full-service bars and an extensive chef-driven food and beverage menu. West Texas weather provides the ideal environment for families and friends to enjoy live entertainment and games on the outdoor patio, or to relax with a cocktail on the second floor terrace.
- LOFT at 4ORE celebrates the perfect combination of specialty cocktails, imaginative ingredients and sophisticate style. Located on the second floor, LOFT is a welcome sanctuary for anyone looking to escape the daily grind. LOFT opens at 5 p.m. daily for guests 21 and older.
- The 2,500 square-foot elite training academy offers professional club fittings and an outdoor, full-range chipping and putting green. The academy is developed and managed under the leadership of PGA touring professional and Lubbock Coronado High School golf standout, J.J. Killeen. Private and group lessons, camps and clinics are available for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
- 4ORE is managed by Troon Golf, the largest third party manager of golf and club operations in the world. Troon currently manages properties in more than 31 countries and 36 American states, including the Jerry S. Rawls Course in Lubbock. They bring more than 25 years of experience and expertise in the golf hospitality industry to this project.

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

Collegians Xiong, Lawrence Jr., Wood Fire 64s to Lead U.S. Amateur

(PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.) – Norman Xiong, of San Diego, Calif., who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago, Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond, Va., and Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Okla., each posted 6-under-par 64s to share a two-stroke lead over the field after the first round of stroke play in the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship.

Xiong, 18, a sophomore at the University of Oregon who won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman in 2017, fashioned a bogey-free round with six birdies, three on each nine, at The Riviera Country Club, which hosted the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open, won by Hale Irwin.

Wood, 21, a junior at Oklahoma State University and the son of Willie Wood, who plays on the PGA Tour Champions, notched seven birdies against a bogey at Riviera.

Lawrence, 20, a junior at Virginia Tech who shared the team’s player of the year award, posted two eagles (on Holes 1 and 8), three birdies and a bogey at Bel-Air Country Club, which hosted the U.S. Amateur the last time it was played in Southern California in 1976. Both courses are playing at par 70 for the championship.

Xiong, who also earned stroke-play medalist honors at the Western Amateur, took some time off after that grueling victory.

“I knew I was playing well, but that tournament took so much out of me,” said Xiong, who was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and the Pac-12 Freshman of the year. “I had to rest for a long time. The only golf I've played since then was the last two practice rounds.”

Xiong, who is No. 9 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking ® (WAGR), was sharp despite the layoff.

“I just went out and played my game,” said the 2017 Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist. “I just tried to keep it in play, hit a lot of greens, give myself a lot of chances. I didn't want to shoot myself out the first day. My main goal was to make it to match play. That's what this tournament is about, so that was my expectation, just to get in.”

Wood cited his accuracy off the tee as a contributor to his scoring opportunities. He played the six-hole stretch from No. 7 to No. 12 in 4 under.

“I shot 3 under on the front,” Wood said. “I had some up and downs and stuff, and then I birdied 10, 11, and 12 and went, ‘All right, this is going to be fun.’”

Wood, who also played in the 2015 U.S. Amateur, emphasized advancing to match play.

“It feels good,” Wood added. “It's a match-play tournament so the tournament starts on Wednesday. To be able to shoot a score like that gets me going.”

The U.S. Amateur consists of 36 holes of stroke play on Aug. 14 and 15, after which the 312-player field is reduced to the low 64 scorers. There will be six rounds of match play, starting Aug. 16. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18 and Saturday, Aug. 19, respectively. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 7:45 a.m. PDT.

Lawrence won the 2017 Virginia State Amateur, the same title his father won in 1980, began his round with an eagle on Bel-Air’s par-5 first hole.

“I hit it in the right rough and then I had a little bit of a tree in my way, so I just had to hit a high fade with a 5-iron and hit it to about 10 feet left of the hole and made the putt.”

He followed with a birdie on the fifth and an eagle on the eighth to complete his first nine holes in 5 under. Lawrence added birdies on holes 11 and 13 to reach 7 under, but a bogey on the 18th was his only blemish.

“It is definitely up there,” Lawrence said of the pride he took in his performance. “I'm confident with how I played and happy with how I played. Again, it’s just one round. I’ve got to play well going forward.”

Charleston Southern University senior Arthur Griffin, 21, of Lake Placid, N.Y., posted a 4-under 66 at Bel-Air that included an eagle, six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to trail the leaders by two strokes.

Two players were three strokes behind: Georgia Tech sophomore Andy Ogletree, of Little Rock, Miss., and University of Texas senior Doug Ghim, of Arlington Heights, Ill., who posted 3-under 67s at Riviera.

Among the eight players at 68 were Joaquin Niemann, of Chile, No. 1 in the WAGR (at Riviera) and University of California-Berkeley senior Collin Morikawa, of La Canada Flintridge, Calif. (at Bel-Air).

Brad Dalke, the runner-up in the Amateur in 2016 and a member of the University of Oklahoma’s NCAA Championship team, shot 75 at Riviera.

Only 27 players broke par – 11 at Riviera and 16 at Bel-Air.

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

TPT Golf Scores Second-Place Finish at RICOH Women's British Open

(RENENS, SWITZERLAND) - TPT Golf announced that Jodi Ewart Shadoff finished second at the RICOH Women's British Open using a TPT Golf graphite shaft in her driver. Shadoff played the company's 16LKP-MT-SW model in recording her highest finish of the year.

"This shaft genuinely helped improve my accuracy and distance off the tee this week," said Ewart Shadoff, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 2011. "The proof is in my score. And I also loved the feel of it all along the way." Ewart Shadoff entered the final round nine shots behind the leader, and then fired a course-record 64 - coming up just two strokes shy of the winner.

This performance further validates that TPT Golf is setting new standards in shaft performance, using 'Thin Ply Technology' (TPT) carbon fiber materials and a patented manufacturing process developed by its parent company, North Thin Ply Technology SARL.

The patent-pending manufacturing process enables golf shafts to be made with exceptionally accurate fiber placement in a highly uniform way around the shaft. This method creates a spineless shaft and overcomes the inconsistencies sometimes seen in shafts produced by the more-traditional table rolling methods. TPT shafts provide exceptional feel, leading to tighter shot dispersion, low spin and increased distance.

TPT can provide the best-performing products for Tour pros and amateurs alike, bringing a consistent and precise product into the shaft marketplace. The range of TPT Golf shafts has been designed to make the fitting process as simple as possible. There are models to suit players with any swing speed.

For more information on TPT Golf, visit tptgolf.com.

ShoeTips set to participate in 2017 PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf in Las Vegas August 14

(LOS ANGELES, CA) - ShoeTips will be participating in the 2017 PGA Demo Experience scheduled for August 14th from 4-8 p.m., at Topgolf in Las Vegas, showcasing their revolutionary new swing thought reminder system designed to help golfers of all skill levels master their mental game while they play.

"We're excited to be participating in the PGA Demo Experience," said Steve Lewis of ShoeTips. "This is a great opportunity to expose our product to the influential PGA Professionals and golf retailers attending. Now that ShoeTips is "Permitted under the Rules of Golf" based on the recent USGA ruling, we're really looking forward to getting some feedback."

2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 14-16, 2017, in Las Vegas, is a golf merchandising, product testing and professional education event, exclusively for golf industry professionals and golf lifestyle apparel retailers, presented in a modern, sophisticated setting and organized by the PGA of America and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions.  In addition to product presentations by more than 200 companies and brands, the annual industry event features a Pro-Pro Tournament at TPC Las Vegas, the new PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf Las Vegas, an evening Fashion Show and Industry Reception, plus a comprehensive three-day Education Conference. Event details and registration are available at www.PGALasVegas.com.

Flexible and Easy to Use
Using ShoeTips is easy. Before you play, select two swing thoughts you want to remember from the 18 provided. Insert the labels securely into the two base clips and slide the clips easily, and snugly, over your shoelaces. The reminders will be in full view on your shoes as you address the ball. To use them on your golf bag instead, simply insert the base clips through the slots on our enclosed BagTag.  Now each time you select a club you can remember what you had wanted to concentrate on and clear your mind of the thoughts that interfere with making a good shot.

Whether you wear them on your shoes or display them on your Bag Tag, ShoeTips is "Permitted under the Rules of Golf" for amateurs and pros, worldwide.

ShoeTips' 18 familiar swing thoughts were chosen based on input from golf pros and sports psychologists. The labels are easy to change and organized into 3 categories-focus, relating to your mind; feel, to your body; and technique, to your swing mechanics. Can't find the tip you want? Write your own custom tips on the reverse side of the labels with an indelible marker.

Mental Focus Promotes Peak Performance
Golf's greatest players, instructors and coaches, sports psychologists, writers, and scientific research on performance and the mental game all agree: Regardless of a person's skill level, if you can focus completely on, and become fully absorbed in the task at hand, with nothing left over for worry or doubt, you'll achieve a state of peak performance.

ShoeTips retails for $19.99 and is available on Amazon.com.

For more information on ShoeTips visit www.ShoeTips.com.

KZG Launches the VC-460 Drivers

(PALM DESERT, Calif.) - KZG, the #1 Custom ProLine, launches its long-awaited VC-460 Series of Drivers.

The VC-460 Drivers offer just about everything a golfer is looking for: outstanding distance, solid sound and feel, plus forgiveness.

The VC-460 is based on KZG’s very popular VC-420 model which was designed specifically for the competitive player and offering the lowest spin rates ever tested in a driver. By popular demand of its network of Dealers, KZG now offers the 460cc model which is a more forgiving model and will appeal to a wider range of golfers.

As with all KZG drivers, there is no adjustable hosel.   KZG’s worldwide network of elite fitters, coupled with professional teachers, are unanimous: if golfers want their swing in a groove, clubs should be properly fit to them and the specifications maintained, not changed.  

The VC-460 is a very sophisticated clubhead that is costlier to manufacture as the body is a one-piece, vacuum cast titanium for superior durability. The sound, feel and performance are solid.  The face insert is forged titanium with outstanding rebound for outstanding distance. The entire head has been designed to produce a very low spin rate which gives golfers a lower trajectory resulting in greater carry distance and greater roll.

“The VC-460 Drivers are exceptional” reports Jennifer King, President of KZG. “The distance and control will appeal to a wide spectrum of golfers. Everyone who has tested these drivers are amazed by the carry and roll, making the VC-460 one of the longest drivers on the market.”

The VC-460 brings KZG driver offerings up to eight distinct different models, for beginners through to the competitive player and everyone in between. KZG only works through its network of highly skilled Master Fitters and Professional Teachers who understand the swing and the design features so that they can select the ideal clubhead and shaft combination required for each golfer they fit.

Available in RH: LL/9⁰, ML/10.5⁰, HL/12⁰ and LH:  ML/10.5⁰

For more information on KZG products or KZG’s 3-Day Master Certification Program for Master Clubfitters, visit www.kzg.com or call 1-800-200-8800 or (760)341-4433.

Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort to Host South Pacific Golf Classic

Taking Place September 11-16, Marriott Golf-Managed, World-Class Beach Resort to Host Four Round Pro-Am Tournament with $60,000 in Professional Prize Money

(ORLANDO, Fla.) - On the heels of its global expansion in the South Pacific, Marriott Golf, the Global Golf Division of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), has announced that the Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort will host the South Pacific Golf Classic. Taking place from September 11th – 16th, the Pro-Am tournament will offer $60,000 in prize money for participating golf professionals.

The inaugural Sheraton Deva Legends South Pacific Golf Classic, an international pro-am tournament, will be played over 4 rounds on two excellent golf courses, as part of the Australasian PGA Legends Tour. The field will be made up of approximately 40 professionals and 80 amateurs, with only 40 spots available for overseas amateur golfers to compete. The tournament is open to men or women, and amateurs must have a current handicap, with limits at 27 for men and 30 for women.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be played at the fantastic new Sheraton Deva championship course in Bourail, then a day off to travel back to Noumea followed by the final two rounds at Tina golf course. All competitors will play all four rounds of the tournament. There will be one professional and 3 amateurs in each group for the first 3 rounds then the final round will feature a seeded draw based on score, with the leading two pros paired with the leading two amateurs and so forth throughout the field.

Accommodation for the first three nights will be at the newly opened $250 million Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort which is located at Bourail, a leisurely 2 hours’ drive north of Noumea’s international airport. This exceptional resort has 180 rooms, suites & bungalow’s, 13 kilometres of white sand beach facing the UNESCO World Heritage lagoon and reef, a world class Deep Nature Spa and a range of leisure activities for non-golfers.  On day four, participants transfer to New Caledonia’s capital Noumea, where they will spend 3 nights at the beautiful beachfront Le Meridien Nouméa Resort & Spa. The Grand Casino de Noumea is next door and the resort is only 10 minutes from the downtown shopping area and Tina golf course.

The Sheraton Deva Legends South Pacific Golf Classic, which is part of the Australasian PGA Legends tour, offers a great opportunity for amateurs to play with some of the household names of professional golf at an exotic location, and in a relaxed atmosphere. For more information, or to register for the tournament, golfers can visit http://www.pacificgolf.co.nz/calendar/sheraton-deva/.

The Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort, along with the Denarau Fiji Golf and Racquet Club, are now managed by Marriott Golf, as part of the Company’s global expansion in the South Pacific.  This expansion comes on the heels of Marriott International, Inc.’s acquisition and integration of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and creating the world’s largest hospitality company.

Marriott International’s expanded Portfolio now includes 30 leading Hotel brands, establishing a new global standard for unrivaled travel experiences.  The new company operates or franchises more than 6,000 properties and 1.1 million rooms, in over 122 countries.

Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs are the most recognized and awarded loyalty programs in hospitality, with over 100 million members combined. Today, golfing travelers will have additional opportunities to earn and redeem rewards points for their golfing experiences around the globe.

For more information, visit http://www.marriott.com/explore-and-plan/golf.mi.

The Renaissance of the World's Lowest Golf Course (-214 Feet)

This is Where Phil Mickelson Got His First Set of Left-Handed Golf Clubs; It Was a Girls Set – That’s the Only Set They Had

(FURNACE CREEK, DEATH VALLEY, Calif.) – The t-shirt in the pro-shop features a skeleton playing golf. On the first tee, whirligigs of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote spin in a never-ending chase at minus 214 feet below sea level on what once was an ancient seabed.

Welcome to Furnace Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole course located in a true American oasis within the three million acres that is Death Valley National Park.

Begun in 1927, the legendary course with its famous drive-through 19th hole has just undergone a renaissance and renovation overseen by Fred Dickman, Director of Golf Course Maintenance and Hotel Grounds for the legendary Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs (home to the 2018 Seniors Open and the course where a young Jack Nicklaus earned his first U.S. Amateur title). The renovations were primarily focused on water conservation and transitioned 15 acres of maintained turf to desert with low-water-use native plantings. The result will ensure that these links with the ultimate waste bunkers continue to take on and entertain golf enthusiasts for generations to come.

The Inn and The Ranch at Death Valley (formally known as The Inn and The Ranch at Furnace Creek) are also undergoing a massive renaissance thanks to Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the company that owns and operates the private property.

But be prepared. While all links have challenges and house rules, out here some of the hazards include coyotes that like to one-way fetch golf balls (you are allowed a free drop) and the perplexing fact that golf balls don’t travel as far at 214 feet below sea level as they do at sea level. They just don’t.

Furnace Creek Golf Course has been recognized by Golf Digest magazine in its list of "America's 50 Toughest Courses."

Located two hours from Las Vegas and four hours from Los Angeles, the course is located in a true American oasis, where ancient waters bubble up in amazing quantities from the ground. The Native Americans knew about it and the ‘49ers stopped on the way to the gold fields and the famed Borax Mule Teams quartered here.

Murray Miller, one of the date-palm caretakers at Furnace Creek, set up a three-hole golf course in 1927 to give the Borax miners something to do in their spare time. In 1931, a nine-hole course was developed around the old ranch land and date-palm orchards. It was the first grass golf course in the California desert.

It was a simple affair. In the hot summers, the course was closed, the fairways were irrigated with oasis water, and it was home to cattle. In the spectacular winters (November through April) the cattle gave way to sheep during the golf season who kept the fairways properly "mowed."

Somewhere along the way, with the advent of motorized golf carts, a drive-through 19th hole evolved that nearly every golfer finds amusing and aspirational. The old wooden ramp and structure allows golfers to just drive up and practically into the 19th hole to order and grab a bite and refreshments. Even if they don’t order something, they almost all drive up and through it.

In 1968, noted designer William F. Bell expanded the course to a full 18 holes. Perry Dye of Dye Designs reworked the course in 1997, and a state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed to allow the course to remain open all year.

Now, in 2017, Furnace Creek Golf Couse is water neutral and features more native foliage and lined water holes that are highly sensitive to and respectful of the environment.

It’s best to be humble and not fooled by the wide-open fairways and the length of the course, which plays to a par of 70 and is only 6,215 yards from the back tees. From there, the course has a USGA rating of 74.7 with a slope of 128.

Think of where you are: on the floor of Death Valley, an ancient ocean bed, embraced by the Panamint and Funeral Mountains.

The 573-yard fifth hole is a highlight on the front 9, a par-5 dogleg right that wraps around a line of tamarisk trees running down the right side of the fairway, which rises slightly halfway to the hole and then slopes down to a diabolical green.

The drive from the back tee on the par-4, 440-yard sixth hole -- the most difficult on the course -- must carry more than 200 yards over a lake to a fairway that doglegs to the left.

Then there is hole number 7, called the "Goalpost Hole" because the drive must split two large trees in the middle of the fairway, 150 yards from a two-tiered trap-door green that drops off dramatically in the back.

The quirky 17th hole is only 310 yards, and the 414-yard 18th hole features three of only 10 bunkers on the course.

It’s also important to point out that The Devil's Golf Course in Death Valley, located a few miles from Furnace Creek is not a golf course, but a terrible wasteland on an expansive salt field created by evaporated bodies of water, and you can see the crystallization process at work. Someone with an odd sense of humor named it and last time we were there an old 7-iron was leaning against the wooden sign post for potential photo opportunities.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts will “restore, revitalize and create a renaissance” The Oasis at Death Valley in all three areas that comprise The Oasis at Death Valley. Three distinct experiences exist at this oasis: a historic luxury Inn set into the side of a mountain range; a Ranch on the desert floor featuring accommodations, restaurants, a general store, a U.S. Post Office, horse stables, date groves, gardens and a large spring-fed pool, a historical museum and a gas station; and the golf course

Work has already begun at The Oasis and, over the course of 2017, the properties will undergo major improvements and enhancements in accommodations, public spaces and facilities, accessibility, landscaping, and energy conservation. During the construction, the 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek will close for the summer, while the 224-room Ranch will stay open. The website (www.oasisatdeathvalley.com) offers updates and information on the improvements taking place at the Resort, Ranch and golf course.

The golf course is open, but Mother Nature needs some time and cooler weather to allow the new foliage to grown in.  Work on The Inn will be completed at the end of 2017 and The Ranch will be completed in June 2018.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Professional Golfers Wearing ALINE's Patented Foot Suspension System Continue Winning Ways

(Marblehead, MA) - ALINE, creators of a new class of golf equipment that replaces your shoes insoles, continued its success on the Professional Tours this past weekend. Five of Top 20 finishers at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, six of Top 30 finishers at The Barracuda Championship and 11 of the Top 30 finishers at the 3M Championship wore ALINEs in their shoes.

"The momentum continues to build as more and more Professional Golfers discover the advantages of wearing ALINEs in their shoes," said Derek Carroll, Founder and CEO of ALINE Systems. "It's exciting to see so many Players with our patented Foot Suspension System in their shoes on top of the leaderboards week after week!"

To date more than 100 Players, Caddies and industry professionals have worked with the ALINE technical staff. They've all recognized the benefits of wearing ALINE both on and off the course. More than 40 Professional Golfers have worn ALINE this year.

So far this season, four victories have been achieved and over $8.0 Million have been earned by players with ALINEs under their feet.

For more information on ALINE visit their website at www.ALINE.com.

Senior LPGA and Symetra Tour Return to French Lick in 2018

Hall-of-Famers, major champions, and future stars will compete on both the Pete Dye and Donald Ross courses

(FRENCH LICK, IN) – The legacy of women’s golf at French Lick Resort was on full display this summer with the Senior LPGA Championship presented by Old National Bank, the first ever senior women’s major championship, and the Symetra Tour’s Donald Ross Classic at French Lick.

The week-long celebration of women’s golf was such a success for both women’s golf and the primary charity, the Riley Children’s Foundation, that French Lick Resort moved quickly to set the dates for 2018.

The Senior LPGA Championship, won this year by Trish Johnson, will be contested next year October 15-17, 2018 while the Symetra Tour’s Donald Ross Classic at French Lick will be played July 12-14, 2018.

The Senior LPGA Championship is part of a five-year commitment with the LPGA Tour and televised on Golf Channel.

A field of 81 players, featuring a collection of past greats in the women’s game including LPGA Hall-of-Famers, current LPGA members and major champions over the age of 45, will compete on the spectacular Pete Dye Course. The 54-hole event offers a total purse of $600,000. The Symetra Tour’s 54-hole tournament played on the Donald Ross Course will have a purse of $200,000.

The history of women’s golf at French Lick dates back to 1957 where Louise Suggs captured the French Lick Women’s Open on the historic Donald Ross course. A few years later the LPGA Championship was brought to the historic site. In 1959 Betsy Rawls won the LPGA major followed by the legendary Mickey Wright winning the title in 1960. In 2013, the resort hosted The Legends Championship on the Pete Dye course and opened up the LPGA Legends Hall of Fame.

In 2018, the resort will add yet another chapter to women’s golf with these elite and historic players returning.

For more information on French Lick Resort, visit www.frenchlick.com.

Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.LPGA.com, www.facebook.com/lpga, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.

Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/RoadtotheLPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.

Golf Legend, Hall-of-Famer Jackie Burke Jr., Open up on Golf's 'Golden Era with Feherty

Burke, The 1956 PGA Champion and Five-Time Ryder Cup Team Member Shares Stories With David Feherty on Many of the Game’s Greats – Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Mickelson and Woods

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – World Golf Hall of Fame member, Ryder Cup captain and two-time major champion Jackie Burke will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated “Outstanding Weekly Studio Show” – Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®  – premiering Monday, August 14 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

The 16-time PGA Tour winner and 94-year-old renowned teacher joins the Emmy-nominated television personality from Champions Golf Club in Houston to discuss a number of topics, including:
· His influence on the origination of Phil Mickelson’s well-known putting drill.
· Memories from rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sam Snead, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
· A prolific Ryder Cup record, going 7-1-0 in matches, and serving as a captain in 1957 and 1973.
· Reflecting on serving during World War II in the United States Marines Corps before turning to professional golf.

Upcoming scheduled guests for the remainder of the season for Feherty include major champion Louis Oosthuizen (Monday, August 21) and Grammy Award-winning musician Darius Rucker (Monday, August 28).

Bermuda Sands Apparel Introduces Men’s Cedar Creek Fall 2017 Collection

(Charlotte, NC) – Bermuda Sands, makers of exceptional leisure and golf apparel, are pleased to introduce their new Fall 2017 Men’s Cedar Creek collection. Take a walk through fall in this beautiful collection.

The Men’s Cedar Creek collection is reminiscent of long walks with foliage reflecting off the glass-smooth lake in fall. Crisp reds, clear blues and deep rustic grays offer an escape to the local park or hiking trail.

With new patterns and opportunities for variety, there are endless options to find a refined yet sophisticated style. The new colors and patterns have that extra touch that refine the go-to options for traveling, hitting the back nine or heading to the kids soccer tournament over the weekend.

“We’re very excited about this collection,” said Joe Pagani, CEO Bermuda Sands. “We have added new styles and designs that appeal to a wide audience and highlight our capabilities as a leader in the leisure apparel space.”

Men’s Cedar Creek Highlight Products
Summit
The new Summit tee is a performance tee shirt that becomes the new go-to. A cotton/poly blend gives this shirt a softness that’s hard to compete with. The Summit is simple yet refined, perfect for a more relaxed look and extreme versatility.
41% cotton, 59% polyester
Plaited jersey
3 color options available
Available in S-3XL
MSRP: $30
Charcoal Heather Blue Sky Heather Crimson Heather

Woodland
The Woodland features a new pattern on this classic Bermuda Sands polo tee. The combination of striated heather with subtle stripe detailing across the chest takes a new approach to a classic look. Styled enough to wear on the course for a full 18 holes or to the clubhouse for dinner.
92% polyester, 8% spandex
2 color options available
Available in S-3XL
MSRP: $75
Crimson Heather Blue Sky Heather

Hemingway
What’s not to love about the Hemingway? Bermuda Sands subtly introduces an understated Cuban inspired floral tonal print onto this classic polo. The printed pattern makes the Hemingway a classy shirt for any occasion, but the pattern also adds fun flare to any day.
92% polyester, 8% spandex
3 color options available
Available in S-3XL
MSRP: $77
Iron Blue Sky

Perfection
New to the outerwear collection is the Perfection. This thin, lightweight pullover is perfect for cooler fall days when just a touch of warmth is needed. Mesh paneling under arms for added breathability and movement during long days.
100% polyester
3 color options available
Available in S-3XL
MSRP: $75
Blue Sky Crimson Black

Noda
Rounding out the outerwear products is the Noda pullover. This 100% polyester piece is on the heavier side; with super soft micro fleece on the interior for an incredible next to skin feel.
100% polyester
Micro fleece interior
2 color options available
Available in S-3XL
MSRP: $77
Blue Sky Crimson

Visit bermudasandsapparel.com for more information.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Zero Friction’s DistancePro GPS Glove up for Grabs in ING/Jamison Booth at World Amateur

(OAK BROOK TERRACE, IL) – Zero Friction will be a prize sponsor in the ING/Jamison Golf Group booth in the 34th Annual Myrtle Beach World Am Golf Expo in late August.

DistanceProGloveThe Myrtle Beach World Amateur is the largest event of its kind, boasting 72 holes of net, stroke play with over 3,000 golfers competing simultaneously on over 50 of Myrtle Beach's best golf courses. Each evening competitors and their guests head to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to take part in the World's Largest 19th Hole.

Part of the nightly activities is the Golf Expo, in which ING/Jamison Golf Group will be among the 52 exhibitors. The booth will feature nightly fantasy golf contests and raffles, from which attendees can win dozens of prizes.

Among those prizes will be the Zero Friction DistancePro GPS Glove that has taken the golf industry by storm since debuting in 2016 at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas. Powered by Bluetooth, the GPS device sits comfortably on the glove flap and weighs less than half an ounce.

One journalist calls the new GPS glove “the handiest GPS system you will find.” Another long time sports writer said, “The beauty of this product is that you don’t have to carry around yet another gizmo on the course.” And another wrote “GPS has migrated from your phone or watch to the back of your hand.”

Zero Friction first entered the golf glove market in 2015 and has continued to evolve.  Golf Hall of Famer Johnny Miller was so impressed when introduced to Zero Friction in 2015 that he took a stake in the company.   The glove took top honors in the Product Ingenuity - Emerging Companies category of the 24th Annual ING Industry Honors awards program, called by many the "Academy Awards of the Golf Industry.”  In 2017, Zero Friction was named the official golf tee and glove of the World Long Drive Association (WLDA).  For more information, visit www.zerofriction.com, or call 847-436-4262.

To view the entire line of Zero Friction golf products, visit www.ZeroFriction.com.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tagmarshal to Complete the Player Experience at Carnoustie Golf Links

(CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND) – Tagmarshal – the pace-of-play and field-optimizing system used globally by golf courses, country clubs and resorts – is being piloted at the historic Carnoustie Golf Links’ Championship Course, a marquee destination for golfers worldwide.

One of the game’s most celebrated courses, Carnoustie will augment fast golfer pace through Tagmarshal’s sophisticated geo-tagging and pace algorithms that enhance round times by 15-17 minutes and enable courses to provide a consistent pace.

“At Carnoustie, we are continuously looking for ways to enhance our on-course experience,” says Colin Sinclair, Head Golf Professional at Carnoustie. “Tagmarshal’s technology will be a valuable tool in exploring improvement opportunities.”

Proven at Ireland’s Ballybunion Golf Club (Irish Open), as well as Erin Hills (2017 U.S. Open), Whistling Straits (2020 Ryder Cup), Valhalla (2014 PGA Championship), East Lake (Tour Championship hosts), Kiawah Island (2012 PGA Championship) and many other facilities, Tagmarshal’s discreet data-transmitting tags track walking and cart rounds. With a wealth of intuitive, dynamic information at their fingertips, courses provide positive, non-confrontational player assistance and routinely improve their per-hole goal times while streamlining field management accuracies and processes.

“Carnoustie is one of the most sought-after golf destinations in the world,” says Bodo Sieber, CEO of Tagmarshal. “We are excited to be partnering with their team and look to empower them to deliver efficient, accurate and data-driven support to members and guests, further adding to a world-class experience.”

A recent USGA survey shows 74% of golfers believe pace of play is “critical” to the enjoyment of their round. Fittingly, the Tagmarshal solution utilizes real time data and industry leading algorithms to improve average round times for a well-managed and consistent pace, enriched golfer experiences, and significant revenue opportunities. Superintendents use Tagmarshal data to better manage pin placements, wear patterns, hole setups as well as operational efficiencies.

More information: carnoustie.com and tagmarshal.com.