Monday, April 23, 2018

Getting to Know: Jeff Mingay, Golf Course Architect

American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Jeff Mingay: I started playing at 10 years old, when I was allowed to start under club rules at Essex Golf and Country Club, where my dad was a member.

AG: Why did you choose a career in golf course design?
JM: Essex was a big influence. It’s a 1929 Donald Ross design in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, across the river from Detroit. As a kid, I took a serious interest in the course, wondering how this amazing place was developed, designed and built. I subsequently did a lot of research on this subject, and eventually wrote the club’s history in 2002. My dad also had most of the classic golf history and course architecture books in his office. I spent a lot of time reading those books as a kid, too. He also took my brother and I to see and play a number of great courses when we were young, including Harbour Town, which was another big influence on my career choice.

AG: In your opinion, have any design trends hurt the game?
JM: As golf architects, most of us don’t think in terms of “easy” and “hard.” We think about designing and building courses that will be interesting for golfers of all abilities that are naturally beautiful. I continually fight opposers to plans at existing clubs who claim that we’re making the course "too easy” by removing trees, widening fairways, expanding greens, etc. I trace this back to Robert Trent Jones, specifically his work at Oakland Hills in the early 1950s. RTJ made Oakland Hills “more difficult” for the 1951 U.S. Open in response to improvements in playing equipment technology at the time, and improving play among the world’s best golfers. It’s amazing, but golf is still suffering from the Oakland Hills “hangover.” Even though when most golfers play well, they can birdie the “hardest” hole. When they’re playing poorly, they can also make a triple on the “easiest” hole.
Par 4, 14th at the Derrick Club in Edmonton

AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
JM: I’ve never been that concerned about growing the game. Golf’s always been a niche sport, and there will always be golfers. The best private clubs and resort destinations are doing better than fine these days. That said, the demise of caddie programs has eliminated opportunities for kids who otherwise wouldn’t be introduced to the game to learn about and become interested in golf. I think a wide-range resurrection of caddie programs across the world would do wonders relative to bringing more people, especially kids, into the game at a perfect age.

AG: Do you have a specific design philosophy?
JM: A very simple one that’s kinda cliche these days. But, I’m always trying to create courses that adequately challenge the best golfers and simultaneously allow everyone else, regardless of playing abilities, to enjoy the game and the course. This philosophy has long been considered the ideal in golf course architecture.

AG: Of all the holes you have designed, do you have a favorite (why)?
JM: In most cases, I like the long ones and the short ones the best. Two of my favourites are at the Derrick Club in Edmonton. We created the long 460-yard par 4 14th hole from a heavily wood area where a 200-yard par 3 used to exist. That’s a cool hole. But, I’ll pick the short par 3 16th at the Derrick. It’s also a brand new hole on the property that solved a safety concern relative to adjacent homes. There are no bunkers at the 16th, but it plays over a pond that also guards the left side of the green. The putting surface is long and narrow, and subtly contoured. By creatively moving the tees and the hole location, the 16th can present a significant variety of yardage day to day. Pin back, tees back and it’s a comparatively long hole. Say, 145 yards. And vice versa. Move the tees up and cut the hole on the front of the green, and the 16th presents a tricky, short pitch. That kind of variety is ideal, especially at a private club course where golfers play frequently. The green tilts toward the water, too. Getting up-and-down off a tight lie right of the green is a challenge.
Par 3, 16th at the Derrick Club in Edmonton
AG: What is your “dream foursome” (living, dead, golfer, non-golfer)?
JM: I’d probably want to take advantage of talking golf architecture during the round, and I think you’d get a lot out of Alister Mackenzie. So I’d pick him. Vernon Macan would be another good choice, for me. I’m currently working to restore a number of his original golf course designs in the Pacific Northwest and would like to learn more about Macan and his work. Then, maybe, Bill Coore. I have a lot of respect for Bill’s work, knowledge and experience. I’ve been fortunate to meet him a couple times, too. Bill's a great guy, very thoughtful, with a lot of offer as well.

AG: Is there a “bucket list” location in/on which to design?
JM: Somewhere ocean side, probably in Canada, is an obvious “bucket list” choice. But, I find that every project presents unique challenges and interesting opportunities. That’s what I thrive on.

AG: What is the future of golf course design?
JM: I think we’re already in the future of golf course design, now. Most people developing golf courses these days are being smart, using beautiful sandy properties, many next to the sea, that make sense for golf. Those sites are relatively sustainable from construction and maintenance perspectives, and naturally beautiful, which has golfers drooling to play those courses. That’s a business model that has a much better chance to work and live long than, say, building a golf course in an old farm field surrounded by houses. Moreover, we’re also seeing some smart renovation work happening, where golf architects are not solely trying to “wow” golfers with fancy bunkers and other extraneous features, but instead are making intelligent decisions about reducing the number of bunkers and maintained turf area, accommodating a wider range of golfers with new tees and increased width, removing troublesome trees that cause maintenance, turf and playability issues etc. This is a relatively sustainable approach as well, and the future of golf course design.

Learn more about Jeff Mingay at jeffmingay.com.

Bridgestone Golf Launches e6 SOFT Lady Edition Available Nationwide in time for Mother’s Day

(COVINGTON, GA) – Bridgestone Golf – innovator of premium golf balls, clubs and accessories – unveils the e6 SOFT Lady Edition, featuring a pearl white finish and pink Bridgestone marking, side stamp and packaging. The new model is available now at www.bridgestonegolf.com and select retailers nationwide.

The e6 SOFT is among the most popular models in the company’s extensive catalog. It is designed as a high-performance ball with soft feel that produces incredibly straight distance by lowering side spin in drivers and long irons. Control and touch around the green are excellent thanks to advanced mantle and cover properties, while distance and accuracy are further enhanced because Delta Dimple Technology minimizes air resistance.

"Female buying power has increased almost three-fold since we launched the e6 Series and we wanted to make sure we are providing options that meet the preferences of a wide variety of golfers,” says Elliot Mellow, Golf Ball Marketing. “Unlike competitors, we don’t advocate that most recreational golfers play a Tour level ball, rather we engineered the e6 series to benefit players looking to hit more fairways thanks to a more forgiving golf ball.”

The e6 series, consisting of the e6 SOFT and e6 SPEED, is designed to help players find the fairway more frequently in order to set up scoring opportunities. They are ideal for mid-level golfers seeking outstanding performance in a variety of areas. While both are engineered to provide accuracy by reducing side spin, the e6 SOFT caters to players seeking a specific feel, while the e6 SPEED is built for distance.

Beyond the e6, Bridgestone Golf designs a diverse portfolio of golf balls to meet the needs of all players, including the TOUR B X, TOUR B XS, TOUR B RX, TOUR B RXS, Extra Soft and Lady. More information on the company’s ball, club and accessories offerings are available at www.bridgestonegolf.com.

In order to help customers find the perfect ball for their games, Bridgestone offers two quick, easy and comprehensive fitting options:
- BFIT Golf Ball Fitting App – Free to download, the app turns the iPhone into a mobile launch monitor by utilizing the camera to analyze the user’s swing and recommend the best Bridgestone ball for his or her game.
- New Online Fitting Tool – Available at www.bridgestonegolf.com, it accommodates the full spectrum of players. The “Quick Fit” option easily determines the best ball for novices while the in-depth “I Know My Game” presents detailed questions to assist experienced golfers to find the perfect fit. The “I’ve Been Measured” path allows users to input launch monitor data, ensuring the most accurate recommendation possible.

Bridgestone Golf’s professional staff includes 14-time Major Championship winner Tiger Woods, FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, Olympics bronze medalist Matt Kuchar, Masters winner Fred Couples, rising stars Bryson DeChambeau and LPGA stars Lexi Thompson and Cheyenne Woods.

Titleist Introduces New AVX Golf Balls

Four-Month Test Market Validates New High Performance Choice Providing Remarkable Distance and Exceptionally Soft Feel with Piercing Low Ball Flight

(FAIRHAVEN, Mass.) – The breakthrough performance of Titleist AVX – a new high performance golf ball providing remarkable distance and exceptionally soft feel through proprietary core, cover and aerodynamic technologies – will now be available to golfers everywhere.

A comprehensive test market conducted in Arizona, California and Florida from October 2017 to January 2018 resulted in the resounding validation of AVX, particularly among golfers who prioritize distance and extremely soft feel.

Beginning today, Titleist AVX is available in golf shops across the U.S. The precision manufacturing of AVX at Titleist Ball Plant 3 in New Bedford, Mass. – also home to the industry-leading Pro V1 and Pro V1x models – has been accelerated in order to meet golfer demand and the worldwide launch of AVX in the coming months.

“Golfers have spoken loud and clear about the performance of AVX,” said Michael Mahoney, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing. “While our R&D team is constantly exploring new golf ball technologies, only a limited number of prototypes ever make it past the initial machine and player testing phases. AVX stood out from the beginning. Ultimately, it was important to let golfers decide whether this golf ball had a place in our line and the results of our test market were emphatic. Many golfers were waiting for a product like AVX – our lowest flying, lowest spinning and softest feeling high performance golf ball – to help them play their best.”

AVX TECHNOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE: Featuring a proprietary multi-component construction, AVX delivers remarkable distance and penetrating flight, very low long game and iron spin, exceptionally soft feel and premium scoring control through the following new technologies:

• Innovative high speed, low compression core technology results in a powerful engine to drive remarkable distance with exceptionally soft feel.

• The invention of a new high flex casing layer enhances speed and controls spin to promote even greater distance.

• The proprietary GRN41 thermoset cast urethane elastomer cover has been specifically formulated by Titleist Golf Ball R&D to deliver premium scoring control with exceptionally soft feel and long lasting durability.

• A unique catenary aerodynamic design delivers a piercing, low trajectory while providing a consistent ball flight on all shots.

• AVX is made by Titleist associates in the company’s state-of-the-art Ball Plant 3 manufacturing facility to the highest performance and quality specifications in the industry, ensuring the most consistent performance ball to ball, and dozen to dozen.

• AVX is offered in both white and high-optic yellow.

“During the test market, we heard from a lot of golfers playing competitive models who realized they had been giving up performance in order to play a softer feeling golf ball,” Mahoney said. “With AVX, not only were they getting the feel that they love, they were also getting longer distance with great performance in the short game – and they were playing better. That’s the reason so many golfers are talking about this golf ball.”

AVAILABILITY: New Titleist AVX golf balls are available in the U.S. beginning April 23, 2018, with worldwide availability scheduled for later this year. MAP: $47.99/dozen.

ON THE WEB: https://www.titleist.com/golf-balls/avx

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Arccos Golf Launches Arccos Caddie for Android

Golf’s First Artificial Intelligence Platform Now Available as Free Beta Feature

(STAMFORD, Conn.) – Arccos Golf today announced the launch of Arccos Caddie, golf’s first artificial intelligence (AI) platform, for Android users.

Arccos Caddie is a premium feature within the Arccos 360 platform, which consists of 14 ultralight sensors that pair with a free app to automatically record and analyze every shot the user takes. Developed in partnership with Microsoft and dubbed “The World’s Smartest Caddie” by numerous media outlets, the award-winning Arccos Caddie shows players their optimal strategy on any hole in the world.

Its AI engine is fueled by golf’s richest data set, which includes over 100 million shots hit during 750,000+ rounds played by the Arccos community, and 418 million GPS mapping data points on 40,000+ courses worldwide. Arccos Caddie also considers a player’s personal shot history, course elevation and weather conditions. It was recently declared Permitted Under the Rules of Golf, according to USGA decision #2017-0754.

“Our vision is to turn every club into a Smart Club via an Arccos sensor to automatically capture data for every shot. This then feeds into the Arccos Caddie AI platform, which helps golfers of all skill levels make smarter decisions and shoot lower scores,” said Sal Syed, Arccos CEO and Co-Founder. “Our users lowered their handicap by an average of 3.55 strokes in 2017. That’s 46.7x faster than the average player with a USGA handicap, and a huge testament to the fact that we are truly on the right track. We expect that trend to continue with the extension of Arccos Caddie to the Android platform.”

Initially launched for iOS devices in 2017, Arccos Caddie for Android will be available for free while in beta. The platform includes 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. Based on the success of Arccos Caddie and its position as a thought-leader in the golf industry, Arccos was recently named among the “World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018” by Fast Company, ranking #3 in the Sports category globally.

“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.”

In addition to Microsoft, Arccos’ official partners include Cobra Puma Golf, which recently launched golf’s first smart set, Cobra Connect Powered by Arccos. As part of this ongoing collaboration, every club in the Cobra KING F8 line features an Arccos sensor embedded in the grip. This helps players improve faster by automatically tracking and receiving actionable insights for every aspect of their game.

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

First Televised World Long Drive Event of 2018 - Clash in the Canyon - Airing Live on Tuesday

Each of the Top-20 in Open Division World Long Drive Rankings & Five-Time (and Defending) World Champion Sandra Carlborg Headline the Field

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – Coming off record viewership in 2017 and a season fueled by emergent dynamic personalities, the World Long Drive Association (WLDA) will stage its first of five televised events in 2018 with the Clash in the Canyon, airing live and in primetime on Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. Taking place April 21-24 at Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex in partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada, the Clash in the Canyon will culminate with the televised portion Tuesday evening featuring the four women and eight men having advanced from preliminary rounds.

A familiar setting in the Long Drive community, Mesquite previously hosted the Volvik World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the same venue as the Clash in the Canyon from 2008-2012. The 480-yard venue is carved out of the adjacent canyon which acts as a scenic backdrop when gazing down the grid from an elevated tee box.

The event will feature a 36-man field competing in the Open Division based on World Long Drive rankings, which will include each of the top-20 in the current rankings, along with a Women’s Division field of 18 competitors, led by five-time – and defending – World champion Sandra Carlborg. The Open Division will compete for a $50,000 purse, with a first place prize of $20,000, while the Women’s Division will be vying for a $7,000 first place prize with a $15,000 overall purse. World No. 3 Ryan Reisbeck will be defending his 2017 Clash in the Canyon title, while Chloe Garner won’t have an opportunity to defend on the Women’s side due to her being sidelined for the 2018 season with a shoulder injury. The Clash in the Canyon is the second official event of the 2018 World Long Drive season, as Justin Moose claimed the East Coast Classic in Columbia, South Carolina last month.

COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime on Golf Channel from 7-9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 24, with Golf Central previewing the event from 6-7 p.m. ET. An encore telecast is scheduled to air on Golf Channel from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET.

The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. New to 2018 will be an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) displaying the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.

Morning Drive and Golf Central will prepare viewers for the Clash in the Canyon through interviews and dedicated segments featuring competitors on-site in Mesquite.

OPEN DIVISION FIELD (in order of World Long Drive ranking): Justin James, Maurice Allen, Ryan Reisbeck, Tim Burke, Trent Scruggs, Will Hogue, Mitch Grassing, Ryan Steenberg, Paul Howell, Glenn Wilson Jr., Landon Gentry, Joe Miller, Tommy Hug, Justin Moose, Kyle Berkshire, Kevin Shook, Jason Eslinger, Nick Kiefer, Steve Monroe, Troy Teal, Jeff Gavin, Brady Torbitt, Dan McIntosh, Eddie Fernandes, Spencer McDaniel, Scott Kalamar, Stephen Kois, Jim Waldron, Jeff Crittenden, Jeff Flagg, Mark Costello, Mitch Dobbyn, Josh Cassaday, Press LaBrie, Dan Lambert, Wes Patterson.

WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Hollie Bartsch, Alexis Belton, Monica Borowicz, Sandra Carlborg, Shelby Crider, Irene Crowchild, Erin Hess, Jana Jones, Heather Manfredda, Phillis Meti, Troy Mullins, Debbie Peever, Alex Phillips, Ashley Pinion, Jessika Shelton, Erin Shireman, Haley Vandenberg, Katherine Wills.

FORMAT: The Open Division field will consist of 36 men broken into four “pods” of nine competitors across four three-minute sets of eight balls each, with a points system being used to identify four from each pod advancing to the Round of 16. From there, five sets of eight balls will determine the eight competitors advancing to take part in the single elimination match play bracket during the live telecast on Golf Channel. The Women’s Division will feature 18 competitors broken into two groups of nine taking part in four sets of eight balls. The top four point-earners from each pod will advance to the single-elimination match play competition beginning with the quarterfinals, with the winners moving on to the semifinals which will play out on Tuesday night’s telecast.

BROADCAST TEAM: A new voice to World Long Drive, veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play at each of the five WLDA televised events on Golf Channel in 2018, beginning with the Clash in the Canyon. Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time World champion – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.

2018 VOLVIK WLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING & MASTERS DIVISION: As part of the event, the WLDA will stage preliminary and final qualifying for the Open Division on Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22, which will award six exemptions into the 2018 Volvik World Long Drive Championship field later this year. Also taking place on Sunday, April 22 will be a Masters Division (ages 45+) competition, with a field of 16 that includes several individuals who have greatly contributed to the success and sustainability of the sport over the past few decades. The Masters Division format will feature a points system, with each competitor completing five sets of eight balls each. The top eight will advance to the single-elimination, match play head-to-head quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

MASTERS DIVISION FIELD:  Mike Bauman, Don Beck, Kyle Blenkhorn, Vince Ciurluini, Jeff Crittenden, Pat Dempsey, Eddie Fernandes, Jeff Gavin, Chris Hall, Dan Lambert, Brian Lawler, Tom Peppard, Lance Reader, Richard Smith, Scott Smith and Roy Studley.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage on Tuesday, April 24 using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.

In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site in Mesquite, WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring for the duration of the event, April 21-24. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Clash in the Canyon leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Stars of Irish Golf Launch the Golf Course at Adare Manor

Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry cut ribbon on Tom Fazio masterpiece design - The Golf Course at Adare Manor

(RELEASE) - Four of Ireland’s most celebrated golfing stars will today conduct the official drive-in at The Golf Course at Adare Manor, set to become one of the most recognised layouts in world golf. Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry will hit the inaugural tee shots of the wholly-reconstructed Tom Fazio design, competing in a €500,000 charity match to mark the milestone occasion for Irish golf.

McIlroy & McGinley will face off against Lowry & Harrington with the winners over the opening 18 holes of the brand-new course earning €350,000 for charity, while the runners-up will receive €150,000 to donate. Among the beneficiaries will be The Rory Foundation, The McGinley Foundation, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation.

The Golf Course at Adare Manor will be unmatched in terms of quality of conditioning, utilising practices and products like no course to come before it. Over a two-year reconstruction period, the Fazio Design team has established a 7,509-yard championship golf course created to the most exacting of standards with the goal of establishing the course amongst the world’s best and hosting the world’s most prestigious events.

Colm Hannon, Chief Executive Officer of Adare Manor, said: “What Tom Fazio and his team have designed here over the last two years has been outstanding. The Golf Course at Adare Manor is unique and our intention is that it becomes recognised as one of the world’s finest.

“We are delighted to be joined today for this historic occasion by Rory, Padraig, Paul and Shane, as well as a number of our members and some very special guests. This is a wonderful day for Irish golf, and I look forward to seeing each of the golfing stars supporting today’s launch return to compete for golfing events of the very highest calibre at Adare Manor over the years to come.”

Maintained by a 50-strong team of greenkeepers, led by Course Superintendent Alan MacDonnell, The Golf Course at Adare Manor possesses the most compelling of reconstruction stories. Born of the original Adare Manor golf course, first opened in 1995 and twice host to the Irish Open (2007 & 2008), Fazio’s masterpiece represents a wholly new proposition.

Lead designer, Tom Fazio, said: “Most golfers will never have seen anything like this course. It looks and plays like no other course in Ireland. This will be a stand out course in Europe and, with the Adare Manor house and estate as its setting, will be one of the finest stay and play venues ever created – everyone is going to want to see this place.”

As well as number of consultants and contributors, Fazio requested the involvement of decorated golfers to give feedback on plans throughout the project, seeking the observations and expertise of both Harrington and McGinley as two of Europe’s most experienced touring professionals in finalising routing, contouring and grass selection.

As it looks set to pique the interest of golfers across the world, Adare Manor has obtained critical acclaim, even before the first golf ball was struck, earning a place within Golf Digest’s coveted Best Golf Resorts in Great Britain and Ireland list.

THE GOLF COURSE AT ADARE MANOR - OVERVIEW

Green Complexes
The Golf Course at Adare Manor is the first in Europe to feature greens of super fine bentgrass. Through detailed analysis, Pure Distinction ‘the ultimate bentgrass for smooth and true greens’ was chosen for its USGA putting surfaces (12,055sq m in total) whilst A4 bentgrass (regularly used upon the greens of many notable courses worldwide) was chosen for all approach surfaces. The results of both  practices is the creation of green complexes matching the quality and conditioning of the world’s very best. The course is also one of only three in the UK & Ireland where all 18 greens incorporate the SubAir Aeration System, used to remove moisture through vacuum pumps, guaranteeing firm play each day. While the course features little in the way of heavy rough, Adare Manor’s greens will present a considerable challenge. Raised high above their surrounds, an excellent short game will be required to negotiate their many contours. Sweeping plateaus are a common feature, a test exacerbated by perennially speedy greens.

Drainage
During the construction phase, 220,000 tonnes of sand were used throughout the property, combining with 77,000 linear metres of gravel trenches (50 miles) and perforated pipes to allow for free-draining even in the worst weather conditions. The Golf Course now spans 170 acres of low-cut, sand capped grass, wall to wall, with no rough in play, catering for a brisk pace of play with little time required to find balls.

The Final Five
Arguably, like the very best championship designs, The Golf Course at Adare Manor saves its most exciting holes for the final stretch, offering a thrilling conclusion to any match. Four of these feature the strong presence of water starting on the par-4 14th, which plays towards a green overhanging a lake and set against the backdrop of the centuries-old Desmond Castle. Hole no.15 will be a driveable par-4 for many modern-day tour players, but it is dominated by the River Maigue, which runs the length of its right-hand side. Bravery and accuracy will be required but birdie or better are a realistic reward. Water is in play again at the short par-3 16th but with 60-metres of green to play with, those who fail to find the surface will be disappointed. Over its closing pair golfers will be treated to two very different tests, with 17th being a tree-lined par-4 of some 523 yards from the back tees, while the closing hole, played directly towards the Manor House, is a par-5 that can be reached in two shots, although the River Maigue and one of the course’s most treacherous greens demand the utmost accuracy at all times.

Event preparations
Anticipating The Golf Course at Adare Manor will become one of golf’s most sought-after event venues, Fazio Design was instructed to factor in all necessary measures to cater for hosting major occasions. As such, The Golf Course at Adare Manor stands as the first globally to be created in such event-ready state, with fibre optic conduit buried within each hole to provide power and telecommunications connectivity for broadcast, whilst an advanced road network has also been built into the property without impacting on aesthetics.

Consultants 
Collaboration on making the design a reality came from a number supporting parties. Atlantic Golf Construction, known for producing work of the highest standards, were crucial in providing the man power and turf management on site; their crew reaching numbers of 150 on-site at times, as well as seven bulldozers and 38 track hoes. Other parties involved included: agronomic consultants, Turfgrass Ireland; hydromulch and soil amendments from Profile Products; seed from Tee-2-Green; turf from Tillers Turf; InTurf, providers of all sod for the bentgrass approaches and the first 11 holes; bunker lining by Capillary Concrete; scanning by Greenscan 3D; a new irrigation system from Toro; and installation by MJ Abbott.

Flora and Fauna
Significant work has been conducted throughout the site to remove any non-native species, such as laurels, ensuring a clean appearance, devoid of any overgrown areas. These improvements have aided visibility, as well as the movement of air and sunlight, allowing for even better quality across all playing surfaces. In addition, 127 mature trees have been planted to help frame each hole.

Water Features
Water features are present on 14 holes with a number of man-made lakes, streams and the River Maigue regularly in play. As these intersect the course at so many points, there was a requirement to create a total of 12 new hand-cut stone bridges, providing another signature feature of the property.

Bunkering
The Golf Course at Adare Manor has the unique honour of featuring fewer bunkers than any other Tom Fazio-designed course. Just 41 capillary concrete bunkered, filled with the finest Scottish sand take position on course. However, each has a very strategic purpose, determining golfers’ approaches to play throughout.

To find out more about Adare Manor, visit: www.adaremanor.com and follow @AdareManorHotel (Facebook), @TheAdareManor (Twitter) and @TheAdareManor (Instagram).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hacker is Back, and the Royal & Ancient May Never Be the Same

(RELEASE) - Yeoman House Books has announced that the newest edition of author James Y. Bartlett’s Hacker Golf Mystery series will be published July 1, 2018.  Death from the Claret Jug again features the adventures of golf writer Pete Hacker, who covers the game for his Boston newspaper. Hacker is in St. Andrews, Scotland to cover the Open Championship and finds there is trouble afoot in the Auld Grey Toon as an official with the Links Trust is murdered, and his body dropped into the depths of the Bottle Dungeon at St. Andrews Castle.

Whodunnit? The cast of suspects includes a flamboyant and controversial American resort developer with a history of run-ins with the Links Trust. But there’s also a professor at St. Andrews University who wants to ban golf entirely and disrupt the tournament; the Marquis Cheape, whose family has for generations held the title to the land beneath the famed Old Course; and some shadowy Russian figures who might be interested in a big business deal, or might just be interested in mayhem.

So while the world’s best golfers are battling the elements and the golf course to win the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year,” Hacker is chasing leads and clues from pub to pub on the narrow and twisting lanes of St. Andrews. And Hacker’s girlfriend, Mary Jane, is along for the ride on her first visit to Scotland.

Death from the Claret Jug is Bartlett’s fifth Hacker mystery. And along with the recent publication of Death in a Green Jacket, set at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., Bartlett has made the turn in his planned four-book Major series.

Bartlett has been called “the Dick Francis of golf” by Golfweek. Golf Today said “Clearly, [Bartlett] knows the nuances and dynamics of the golf world, but beyond that, he’s also a splendid storyteller.”

“Passages fall with the sweet sound of the ball rattling into the cup,” said a reviewer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “Romps right along…Bartlett knows how to tell a story,” was the verdict of the Boston Globe. “Hacker is blessed with a feisty cynicism, a critical eye and a sharp wit that makes him thoroughly enjoyable,” said On Course Living.

Death from the Claret Jug will be available in both trade paperback ($14.99) and e-book ($4.99) editions, and can be purchased from Amazon.com.

PGA TOUR Instructor & Best-Selling Author of ZEN GOLF, Dr. Joe Parent, Endorses ShoeTips

Parent also agreed to be an Ambassador for the brand

(Los Angeles, CA) - ShoeTips announced that well known PGA TOUR Instructor and best-selling author of the books ZEN GOLF, Golf: The Art of the Mental Game, How To Make Every Putt, and ZEN PUTTING, Dr. Joe Parent, has agreed to be an Ambassador for their revolutionary new device that helps golfers of all skill levels master their mental game while they play.

Dr. Joe Parent
Dr. Joe Parent has coached the mental game as it applies to business, life and golf for more than 30 years. A distinguished PGA TOUR Instructor, he has worked with major champions and many other top professionals. He has the singular distinction of coaching both a man (Vijay Singh) and a woman (Cristie Kerr) to the #1 World Ranking. Golf Digest repeatedly named Dr. Joe as one of the "Top Ten Mental Game Experts" in the world and featured him in their popular instructional section: "Breaking 100-90-80 and 70.

He is a renowned and sought-after instructor of the mental game in all aspects of life; teaching the path to success to hundreds of professionals and amateurs in golf and other sports, as well as to top executives seeking cutting-edge business insights. Dr. Joe has been featured on CNN, NBC's Today in New York, HBO Sports, ESPN, and many appearances on The Golf Channel.

"ShoeTips is a great tool for bringing the mental game insights of Zen Golf with you for every shot," explains Dr. Joe. "This is a unique approach: a training aid that becomes a playing aid you can take on the course to be more mindful of your essential swing keys-while you play! ShoeTips transforms your performance by enabling you to focus on just one or two positive reminders before you start your swing. It's a great way to stay focused and stick to your game plan." As Dr. Joe recommends, "Don't tee off without them!"
"We feel very fortunate to be associated with Dr. Joe", says ShoeTips' Founder, Steve Lewis, "and pleased that he recognizes the kinship between our simple device and his groundbreaking approach that blends eastern philosophy and western psychology to improve performance. We couldn't imagine a better match to get our message out."

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, if you prefer, simply insert the base clips through the slots on our enclosed Bag Tag. Now each time you select a club you are reminded of what you want 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" by the USGA 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 their website: http://www.shoetipsgolf.com/why-shoetips and at Amazon.com.

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

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Seven Dreamers Reaches 100 Demo Day Milestone for ‘World’s Most Expensive Golf-Club Shaft’

(San Francisco, Calif.) – Seven Dreamers Laboratories – innovator of the world’s most advanced and expensive golf-club shafts – recently conducted its 100th demo day since arrival on the North American golf scene 12 months ago.

The milestone event at The Grove – an exclusive private club with a championship Greg Norman-designed golf course outside Nashville, Tenn. – coincides with a recent major championship winner teeing it up with Seven Dreamers shafts at the 2018 Masters Tournament.

In a short period of time, Seven Dreamers has gained a large and loyal following among the most discerning and affluent golfers.  The ultra-premium, custom-fit shafts, which start at $1,200 each, have been adopted by members of Cypress Point Golf Club, Riviera Country Club, Oakmont Country Club, Seminole Golf Club, San Francisco Golf and Country Club, Southern Highlands, TPC of Boston and hundreds other golf and country clubs.

Made in Tokyo by craftsmen who custom build each shaft, Seven Dreamers uses aerospace-quality carbon fiber, a proprietary 3D design system and an autoclave to cure every shaft. This pioneering approach helps the carbon fiber retain 100 percent of its quality and eliminates common practices used by other manufacturers, including grinding or polishing to achieve weight and flex specifications, as well as adding 3-5 grams of useless paint weight to the structure.  The resulting design provides golfers with incredibly smooth feel and near-perfect transfer of energy for more distance with tighter shot dispersion.

“Much like fine-quality, bespoke suits, our shafts are designed to complement the user by perfectly reacting to his or her unique swing profile,” says Shin Sakane, President and CEO of Seven Dreamers. “No other manufacturer in the world has the resources or manufacturing knowledge to create the superior shafts our labs produce.”

Seven Dreamers produces shafts for woods, irons and putters. For U.S. and Canadian golfers, 28 different bend profiles help players of all handicaps optimize performance. These were identified as the most common and beneficial options, informed by data collected during thousands of club fittings. Golfers interested in Seven Dreamers shafts partake in a thorough fitting session to find an ideal match. A list of authorized dealers: https://golf.sevendreamers.com/en/shop/agent/.

The autoclaving process is traditionally used for manufacturing high-precision carbon products, including those utilized in the building of satellites and aircrafts. The renowned history of Seven Dreamers Laboratories is reflected in its production methods as company engineers continuously innovate in research and development of fiber reinforced composite materials. In 1998, the forbearers of what would eventually become Seven Dreamers were involved in developing Japan’s “Hayabusa” spacecraft, the first and only unmanned craft to land on an asteroid and return to earth with a sample from the surface.

Endorsed by the legendary Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki, winner of 114 professional golf tournaments, Seven Dreamers shafts debuted in Japan in 2014 and Southeast Asia and Australia soon thereafter where they quickly became highly popular among professional and amateur players.

More information: golf.sevendreamers.com/en

Club Car’s STEM Day Inspires Students with Stimulating Team Focused Learning

(Augusta, Ga.) – Club Car, an Ingersoll-Rand brand, known globally for manufacturing small-wheel, zero emissions golf, consumer and utility vehicles, is delivering an altogether new vehicle, one intended to inspire and help educate the next generation workforce.

For five years, Club Car has been collaborating with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and EdVenture, a not-for-profit educational institution, to host “STEM Day at Club Car.”

Club Car hosted 47 local middle school students from AR Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School and Guinyard Butler Middle School at its Augusta plant.

Students learned about manufacturing techniques including how to develop planes and parachutes’ efficient flight paths through a wind tunnel. They also participated in team-focused educational activities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“It’s inspiring for students to walk the floor of our manufacturing plant while it’s in operation and to attend educational sessions to envision what a future career path can entail,” said Tyrone Ellis, vice president, integrated supply chain, Club Car. “Our employees have embraced mentoring and are committed to the students’ future, and even though our intention is to give back, we are getting so much from being a part of the program.”

The Club Car’s STEM event is part of a broader vision of the GaDOE and its Career, Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE). Educators like Dr. John Pritchett participate and collaborate with teachers and STEM and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) coordinators as well as local and national workforce partners to better understand employment gaps and needs while also providing students with new opportunities for their future employment plans.

“The students believe, ‘Yes’ I can be an engineer or a technician or an industrial maintenance technician and make a good wage,” said Pritchett, Research, Technology, Innovation Specialist with the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) for GaDOE. “They realize they can achieve these skill sets out of high school or in post-secondary training whether it’s a two-year or four-year setting. Club Car has been a great partner and allowed us to listen to their needs as an employer, and it’s helped our educators focus on how we can help bridge that gap to better prepare students for their industry and other industries’ needs.”

Since Club Car began hosting the program, its employees who serve as mentors or participants in STEM Day are rewarded from the experience as much as the students are.

“That common phrase, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ has changed,” added Pritchett. “Today, instead we’re asking students ‘what problems do you want to solve in the future’? We’re changing the dialogue, and we’re changing the focus by empowering students with new tools and giving them a reason for persistent motivation. They are starting to realize they can be a real contributor and there’s a place for them in the STEM/STEAM world and the STEM/STEAM economy.”

The National Science and Math Initiative claims STEM job creation over the next 10 years will outpace non-STEM jobs significantly, growing 17 percent, as compared to 9.8 percent for non-stem positions. Jobs in computer systems design and related services – a field dependent on high-level math and problem-solving skills – are projected to grow 45 percent between 2008 and 2018.

To learn more about Club Car, visit www.clubcar.com

To learn more about STEM/STEAM Georgia, visit www.stemgeorgia.org or contact Felicia Cullars fcullars@doe.k12.ga.us or Meghan McFerrin mmcferrin@doe.k12.ga.us.

Women's Golf Day - Building Community Before Competition

Elisa Gaudet, WGD Founder, talks to the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive about how community has been at the heart of the success of Women’s Golf Day

(RELEASE) - In 7 weeks Women’s Golf Day (WGD) will take to fairways, ranges and simulators across the globe for the biggest celebration of women and girls golf in the world. Elisa Gaudet, founder of WGD, is on a mission to spread the word about the third annual event on June 5th. Just this week she spoke with Lauren Thompson at Golf Channel’s Morning Drive to explain how a passion project ended up creating a global golfing community.

With gender equality and equal opportunities for women firmly on everyone’s agenda, not just in golf, WGD was inadvertently launched at the right time and Elisa has found that people were ready to fully embrace the WGD concept, she explains, “Look at everything else that is going on the world, women empowerment, women supporting women, it (WGD) was super timely and what we have created is a community and I think that it is this community aspect that is so powerful, more than the golf.”

The community extends beyond the golf course where she also highlighted the social media coverage of the day which encompassed the community spirit, everyone having fun and celebrating women and girls golf.

Elisa believes that one real issue preventing many women getting into golf has been a feeling of intimidation. Elisa spoke about how WGD has always encouraged participants to bring a friend commenting, “Women move in packs!” It has been the mixing of people that have never played golf with those who have which she credits as a “game changer”.  “Golf has always been about community, but often women feel intimidated around golf. WGD is breaking down those barriers, getting women onto the golf course and acting as a platform to unite and showcase all the people and venues driving participation and welcoming women and girls part of the global golfing community.”

Elisa also touched on her personal battle with breast cancer since the 2017 WGD, talking about how although she found the diagnosis difficult to come to terms with, over time it was the WGD platform and the community that it had created which has helped in her recovery and made her want to tell people her story.

For the full Golf Channel Morning Drive Interview with Elisa Gaudet, featuring details of WGD 2018 and Elisa’s journey to recovery from breast cancer, follow the links below:
https://www.golfchannel.com/video/gaudet-womens-golf-day-grows-and-creates-community/
https://www.golfchannel.com/video/gaudet-importance-ultra-sounds-diagnose-breast-cancer/

To register to host a Women’s Golf Day event visit https://womensgolfday.com/location-registration/

PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons Set a New Standard for the World’s Finest Golf Club

PXG’s New GEN2 Irons Deliver Exceptional Custom Fitting Options for Golfers at Every Level of the Game

(Scottsdale, AZ) – U.S. based, luxury-performance golf brand PXG has officially released its next generation of iron technology.

Three years in the making, PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons are now available in 42 countries through a world-class custom fitting experience. Presented in four collections – Tour (T), Players (P), Xtreme Forgiveness (XF) and new Super Game Improvement (SGI) – PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons are designed to meet the needs of golfers regardless of age, gender or ability.

“GEN2 irons are insane,” shared PXG customer Dan Doyle. “After being fitted, I got about seven yards extra distance and had zero bad shots during my first round with the clubs.”

Originally revealed in early March 2018, PXG’s new irons have received similar accolades from other PXG customers, media and tour professionals.

“It literally took me two shots to fall in love with these irons,” said eight-time LPGA TOUR champion Anna Nordqvist. “The first shot felt amazing, it was almost too good to be true. The second shot proved that I wasn’t dreaming.”

Forged from 8620 soft carbon steel, for enhanced aesthetics and durability over time, PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons have the sleek look of a blade and a buttery-soft feel.

Each club also features a hidden cavity injection molded with new COR2 Technology, a proprietary vibration dampening material with explosive C.O.R. (coefficient of restitution) properties. Combined with PXG’s new internal face perimeter cut-out design, COR2 Technology helps deliver higher ball speeds, a more consistent response, outstanding mishit performance, unmatched accuracy, and longer distance.

To maximize performance and deliver extreme forgiveness, PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons also utilize the world’s thinnest club face and PXG’s signature perimeter weighting technology.

“PXG GEN2 Irons improve on our already outstanding technology in every measurable way,” said PXG founder Bob Parsons. “Custom fitted, the results speak themselves. These are the best irons we’ve ever made.”

Engineered to be custom fitted and built to spec by hand, PXG 0311 GEN2 Irons are priced at $400 a club for Chrome and $500 for Xtreme Dark. Purchased through PXG, price includes a custom fitting with a highly-trained PXG Fitter, access to an extensive matrix of premium shafts and a wide array of grip options.

To learn more or to schedule a fitting, visit PXG.com.

Giants Ridge Earns Prestigious Editors’ Choice Award from Golf Digest

(BIWABIK, Minn.) – Giants Ridge – Minnesota’s leading golf resort set in the rugged beauty of the Mesabi Iron Range – has received a prestigious “Editors’ Choice Award” from Golf Digest in the “Best Golf Resorts in the Americas” category.

The acclaimed golf destination was the only Minnesota property to earn the coveted accolade. Now in its third year, the Golf Digest “Editors’ Choice Awards” annually honor the “best of the best” in 38 industry categories. The news is featured in the recently-released May issue.

“We’re thrilled Golf Digest recognizes the exceptional golf experience we provide,” says John Kendall, Director of Golf. “Our two distinct layouts offer 36 thrilling holes at an unbeatable value.”

Giants Ridge’s two championship courses – The Quarry and The Legend – rank among the top in the state. The aptly-named Quarry, built on the site of a former sand quarry and iron ore mine, has consistently earned a spot on Golf Digest’s bi-annual list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” since 2005.

Additionally, The Quarry was recently rated the “Best Course You Can Play” in Minnesota by Golfweek. This is the fourth consecutive year the dramatic layout has earned the top spot.

Although both designed by renowned course architect Jeffrey Brauer, both The Quarry and The Legend have a unique layout and character. Dramatically raised tees and hazards forged from reclaimed and repurposed mine land set The Quarry apart from other courses. Carved out of the Superior National Forest, The Legend is a true “northwoods” course featuring towering pines, giant fairways and majestic views of Wynne and Sabin Lakes.

In addition to Golf Digest and Golfweek honors, Giants Ridge and its courses have received accolades from Golf Magazine, My Golf Spy, WorldGolf.com and Golf Advisor.

More information: www.giantsridge.com, 1.800.688.7669

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Getting to Know: Danny Ackerman, General Manager of Golf Operations at Oglebay Resort

American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Danny Ackerman: I began playing golf at the young age of 5-6 years old at Wheeling Park with my father.

Danny Ackerman
AG: Why did you choose a career in the golf industry?
DA: While I always thought I’d follow in my father’s footsteps of becoming a college basketball coach, a unique opportunity arose while at Pinehurst participating in the U.S. Father and Son invitational. I was approached by a former West Virginia University Men’s Golf Team partner if I’d consider working at Pinehurst Resort and CC. It was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.

AG: How has your return "home" been?
DA: My return to Oglebay and Wheeling, WV has been a blessing for both myself and my family.  I’ve been fortunate that much of my family still resides in Wheeling. Therefore, it’s been a unique joy spending time in the place where I grew up, while also being closer to family that I’ve been away from for 32 years.

AG: What’s your favorite thing about being at Oglebay Resort?
DA: My favorite aspect of Oglebay is the diversity of its many offerings. Golf, pool, picnics, events, nature trails. I could go on and on. Guests are taken aback by the resort’s natural beauty upon visiting for the first time.

AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
DA: Oglebay is growing the game through several initiatives: First Tee Program, Kids Play Free, PGA Junior League via Get Golf Ready, one-on-one junior golf instruction, and more. The mindset of growing the game is an important part of being a PGA Member.

AG: What’s the most common mistake amateur golfers make on the course?
DA: The biggest mistake amateur players make is thinking you can simply find a swing through purchasing new equipment. Taking a few lessons each year working on your game is what I’d like to see more people do. Additionally, amateur players should spend more time honing their short games, as an estimated 60% of the typical weekend player’s shots occur within 100 yards of the hole.

AG: Is there a shot you dread?
DA: The most difficult shot is the long bunker shot. Best to take your poison, play it safe and move on.

AG: How can golfers in this region get ready after the long winter months?
DA: After a long winter of little or no golf, stretching is an important way to get your body loose and limber for springtime golf. Signing up for Oglebay’s Valley Card is also a smart way to take advantage of discounts for all local players.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
DA: Dream foursome: My father and two sons, Ryan and Aiden.  My daughter Bethany would have to make it a fivesome.

AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to play?
DA: St. Andrews or Augusta. Flip of the coin.

To learn more about golf at Oglebay Resort, visit oglebaygolf.com.
Oglebay Resort has great golf, and so much more.

Durable Velcro Glove Caddie Provides Convenient Storage for Your Gloves

(FISHERS, Ind.) - Tour players know the importance of a good, solid grip often using several golf gloves during the course of a round – rain or shine. For amateur players, golf gloves are not only an essential accessory, but can be costly due to everyday wear, tear, overuse and let’s face it, outright abuse.

Spring has sprung, the golf season is here, and many golfers will be dusting off their clubs and reaching into their golf bags only to discover crusty, crumpled up, misshapen gloves. Where’s the love for your gloves?

GloveRide is your answer! GloveRide attaches to your golf bag and provides a convenient and practical location to hang one or more of your golf gloves. The eight-inch long, heavy-duty, flexible plastic band is embedded with a one-inch wide industrial strength Velcro fastening strip. Hanging your golf glove on GloveRide is easy, during or in between rounds, and it stays properly shaped while drying and lasts a lot longer.

GloveRide officially launched at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Jan. 23-26. Since then the company has been selling out of GloveRides at consumer shows in major markets like Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland to name a few.

“GloveRide clips conveniently onto the outside of your bag,” explains Rhett Campbell, President of GloveRide. “Golfers who have stored away their gear on GloveRide will no longer find their gloves all crumpled up and trashed inside their golf bags. And for golfers in the Sun Belt, GloveRide helps dry out wet, humidity-soaked, leather gloves. It’s a simple idea that works!”

GloveRide includes a poker chip ball marker that locks firmly into the top above the Velcro strip and is easily removed and replaced. The poker chip is customizable on both sides. For tournaments looking for fresh and affordable new tee gift concept, GloveRide offers quantity discounts and customized orders ship within four weeks.

In a recent article on GolfDigest.com, it was suggested, “Most golfers won’t get rid of a glove unless it’s ripped.” Now golfers can use GloveRide to hold several gloves conveniently, which can be individually rotated, making their gloves last longer.

GloveRide is durable, made in the USA, and comes in a variety of colors. It retails for $19.95 and can be customized with any order over 20 pieces. For more information visit www.gloveride.com or call Rhett or Kelley at 888-566-7775.  

Thompson, Henderson Headline Field as LPGA Stages Inaugural HUGEL-JTBC LA Open

PGA TOUR Champions in Missouri for Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, as Franco & Singh Defend

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The LPGA Tour is in Southern California this week, staging the inaugural HUGEL-JTBC LA Open, airing in primetime on Golf Channel Thursday-Sunday.

The PGA TOUR is in San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, where Kevin Chappell defends.

Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh are set to defend on the PGA TOUR Champions at the two-man team event, Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.

Thomas Pieters headlines the field at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.

And tomorrow night, Golf Channel – as part of the NBC Sports Group – will televise a pair of Stanley Cup Playoff first-round games, featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning at the New Jersey Devils, live at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Anaheim Ducks at the San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m. ET. Both games also will be available via streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. For more information, visit http://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com/shows/nhl/

LPGA TOUR
 HUGEL-JTBC LA Open
Dates: April 19-22
Venue: Wilshire Country Club, Los Angeles, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)                                  
Thursday 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Live) / 4-6:30 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 6-9 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-6 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 6-9 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Inaugural event: This is the inaugural edition of the event, marking the LPGA Tour’s return to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 2011.

Lee to be featured in “Rookie Spotlight”: LPGA Tour rookie Erynne Lee will be featured within Friday’s live tournament coverage as part of a “Rookie Spotlight” feature.

Headlining the field: Shanshan Feng, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Anna Nordqvist, Jessica Korda, Brooke Henderson and Michelle Wie.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team
- Play by Play: Terry Gannon
- Analyst: Karen Stupples
- Tower: Tom Abbott
- On Course: Jerry Foltz / Kay Cockerill

PGA TOUR 
Valero Texas Open
Dates: April 19-22
Venue: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course), San Antonio, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)

Golf Central Pre and Post Round Coverage on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-3:30 p.m. / 9:30-10 p.m. (Live)
Friday 3-3:30 p.m. / 9:30-10 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 12:30-1 p.m. / 2:45-3 p.m. / 9-10 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 12:30-1 p.m. / 2:45-3 p.m. / 9-10 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Chappell defends: Kevin Chappell finished one shot ahead of Brooks Koepka to claim his first PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Sergio Garcia, Si Woo Kim, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Beau Hossler, Shubhankar Sharma, Jim Furyk, Kevin Chappell and Adam Scott.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team
- Play by Play: Rich Lerner
- Analyst: Curt Byrum
- Tower: Matt Gogel / Trevor Immelman
- On-Course: Billy Ray Brown
- Interviews: Lisa Cornwell

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS 
Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Dates: April 19-22
Venues: Buffalo Ridge (Springs Course); Mountain Top; Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday 12:30-3 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)    
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Format: All teams will compete on the Springs Course at Buffalo Ridge (better ball) on Thursday, and will alternate between Top of the Rock (combination of alternate shot / better ball) and Mountain Top (better ball) on Friday and Saturday. The final round will be held on Sunday at Top of the Rock.

Franco, Singh defend: Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh teamed up to win last year (15-under), finishing one shot clear of three teams (14-under).

Notable Champions Division teams: John Daly/Michael Allen, Carlos Franco/Vijay Singh, Miguel Angel Jimenez/Jose Maria Olazabal, Davis Love III/Scott Verplank, Sandy Lyle/Ian Woosnam, Tom Lehman/Bernhard Langer, Andy North/Tom Watson and Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team
- Play by Play: Bob Papa
- Analyst: Lanny Wadkins
- Tower: John Mahaffey
- On-Course: John Cook / Arron Oberholser

EUROPEAN TOUR 
Trophee Hassan II
Dates: April 19-22
Venue: Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Red Course), Rabat, Morocco

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday 6:30-8:30 a.m. / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Morning Drive on-site in Morocco: Matt Ginella and Charlie Rymer are scheduled to be on-site at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam’s Red Course, providing updates and conducting interviews Wednesday-Sunday.

Molinari defends: Edoardo Molinari defeated Paul Dunne with a par on the first playoff hole to earn his third career European Tour win.

Headlining the field: Thomas Pieters, Paul Dunne, Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Thomas Bjorn, Edoardo Molinari, Sean Crocker, Gavin Green and Yusaku Miyazato.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team
- Play by Play: Dominik Holyer
- Analyst: Warren Humphreys
- On-Course: Julian Tutt

GOLFTEC Records Most Successful Month in Company History During March

Nearly 100,000 Lessons and More than 3,500 Club Fittings Given

(Englewood, Colo) – GOLFTEC – the world leader in golf lessons and one of the largest employers of PGA Professionals – announces March was a record-setting month, as the company taught nearly 100,000 lessons worldwide and conducted more than 3,500 fittings, which equated to 32% revenue growth year-over-year compared to the same period in 2017.

The company attributes the strong performance to rapid expansion over the past 18 months, with numerous new locations added domestically and internationally. Further, last April the company launched an enhanced club-fitting program that has had an extremely positive impact on merchandise sales, which rose 100% year-over-year during March.

“When Golfsmith collapsed in 2016 it caused some brief heartburn, as numerous GOLFTEC locations were independently housed within the big-box retailer, but 18 months later we’re stronger than ever,” says Joe Assell, Co-Founder and CEO of GOLFTEC. “The success that we’ve experienced in 2018 is the result of our ambitious company-wide attitude, first-class technology and a team of outstanding coaches who work tirelessly to make our students the best they can possibly be.”

The high output during March is the latest in a string of accomplishments GOLFTEC has experienced. Various high-profile media outlets and organizations, including Fast Company, INC. Magazine and the National Golf Foundation (NGF) have recognized the company’s superior innovation and leadership. In 2017, GOLFTEC was named among the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Sports” by Fast Company, made the prestigious Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America and was honored as one of the NGF’s “Top 100 Businesses in Golf.”

Other notable media attention includes Golf Channel, where GOLFTEC Coaches will be featured more than 200 times in 2018 in the form of live appearances on Morning Drive, taped features on various shows and digital tips on GolfChannel.com.

Conducting more lessons than any company in the world, GOLFTEC’s unique fact-based approach has led to a 96 percent success rate among students, with the average player dropping seven strokes from their scorecard.

The renowned, global GOLFTEC coaching team is comprised of experienced instructors, the majority of which are PGA Professionals who have taught thousands of lessons. Each goes through a rigorous multi-week certification at GOLFTEC University including continued advanced training to master the analysis of golf swing mechanics, the technology utilized by GOLFTEC and the most productive teaching techniques.

Over the past year, GOLFTEC unveiled a complete brand refresh that included vibrant new in-center design schemes, updated logo and enhanced club-fitting program. Additional details include:
In-Center Design & Updated Branding – GOLFTEC’s position as the global leader in golf instruction and club-fitting is reflected in the modern and sleek new in-center aesthetic and branding. Each revamped and new location offers an inviting and inspiring atmosphere, tailored for total golf immersion.

Enhanced Club-fitting – An increased focus on component club-fitting, selection and options, ensures students get dialed-in to the best equipment for their unique games. The TECFIT custom club-fitting program offers an extensive array of component club head/shaft combinations in addition to leading-edge technology and software that combines swing characteristics with ball flight data to help properly identify the optimal equipment for each student.

To learn more about GOLFTEC, visit www.golftec.com or call 877-446-5383.

Golf Beats Cancer, American Cancer Society Partner for Series of Fundraising Events

Partnership Kicks Off With “The Wellness Weekend” at Ojai Valley Inn Resort in June

(SANTA YNEZ, CA) — Golf Beats Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving integrative therapy for cancer patients through the game of golf, has partnered with the American Cancer Society’s Sports and Entertainment Group, for a series of showcase events and fundraisers throughout the United States in 2018.

Golf Beats Cancer was developed by founder Lee Embley as a way to cope with his own stage IV lung cancer diagnosis and treatment, which included an aggressive chemotherapy regiment. Following his oncology directive to stay active, Embley converted his local golf course into a wellness track where patients could fight fatigue, stay hydrated, improve cognition, practice balance, eat nutritiously and be social.   GBC “Golf Buddies,” an extension of the program, encourages participating cancer survivors and other golf club members to become Golf Buddies to encourage and motivate GBC Players to get out, walk the course and embrace an “extended family” through golf.

“What began as a lifestyle self-care solution for me evolved into Links To More Good Days, a complete wellness and patient support program that is now being adopted by golf clubs all over the nation,” said Embley.  “We are thrilled to partner with the American Cancer Society to effectively reach more patients and form more GBC Club partnerships.  We are all about improving quality of life for cancer patients, in and out of the clubhouse.”

The American Cancer Society is planning a number of showcase events with GBC in 2018 in selected cities throughout the United States.  The first event will be at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, in California, on June 10th and 11th. The event begins with a 5K Wellness Walk on the Ojai Golf Course, and includes a golf tournament and gala dinner, with a keynote address by Fred Kass, MD, Head of Oncology at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center.  To register for the event visit http://www.gbcpatientsupport.org/wellness-weekend.

“The American Cancer Society is delighted to partner with Golf Beats Cancer and participate in this first of many showcase events, so that cancer patients on the mend can have a fun way to exercise, improve their game, focus on wellness, and meet new friends in a healthy, outdoor environment,” said Cesley Tafoya, Strategic Director, Regional Sports & Entertainment for the American Cancer Society.

For more information on Golf Beats Cancer showcase events, to become a GBC Golf Buddy/GBC partner club or for other ways you can help support Golf Beats Cancer in its mission, visit http://www.gbcpatientsupport.org/.

StrackaLine Scans The Links at Stoney Point

South Carolina Course Will Have StrackaLine Greens Guides Available for Symetra Tour Event

(San Diego, Calif.) – StrackaLine, creator of golf’s most extensive collection of professional greens guides, has scanned The Links at Stoney Point, which will host a Symetra Tour event this spring.

The upstate South Carolina course plays along Lake Greenwood and is one of the region’s most popular layouts. The Tom Jackson design will again host the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, which will be played May 10-13 with a purse of $200,000.

Defending champion Celine Boutier earned her LPGA Tour card for 2018.

“The Links at Stoney Point is an outstanding course, one we are happy to have as part of the StrackaLine network,” said company president Jim Stracka. “Golf’s next generation of stars are playing on the Symetra Tour, and we look forward to providing them with the same level of information their peers on the LPGA Tour have access to.”

StrackaLine’s quality and accuracy have led to widespread adoption on the PGA, LPGA, Symetra and Web.com tours, in addition to their use by more than 300 Division I college teams.

StrackaLine scans courses for $1,500 and that includes 100 greens guides for resale. The scanning process takes five hours to complete and is unobtrusive to the golfer experience.

StrackaLine now has 700+ courses scanned, including some of the nation's most prominent layouts. Use of the greens guides at the highest levels of the game surged throughout 2017, and the company now counts nearly every Division I golf program, including last year’s national champions, among its users.

The greens maps, which feature easy to read arrows, allow players to view contour and fall lines, in addition to slope percentage, anywhere on the green.

Professional usage has helped drive interest in StrackaLine Greens Guides, and the technology is just as valuable to "regular" amateur golfers hoping to improve their score.

For golf course owners and operators, the technology can be used to improve pace of play and help ensure quality course conditions. StrackaLine offers hole location software that allows superintendents to utilize a proprietary algorithm to help set hole locations.

StrackaLine will continue to add to its library of golf courses throughout 2018. It takes just eight minutes to scan and capture an entire green and the StrackaLine team can complete an 18-hole course and practice green in five hours without disrupting play.

For more information on how to order a greens guide or have a course scanned, go to www.StrackaLine.com.

PING Signs World’s #1 Amateur, Joaquín Niemann

(PHOENIX) – Joaquín Niemann, the world’s #1-ranked amateur since May 2017, has signed a multi-year equipment contract with PING, company President John K. Solheim announced. The 19-year-old Chilean turned pro after playing in his first Masters, having qualified by winning this year’s Latin America Amateur Championship. In 2017 alone, he took home seven trophies across the globe, including three at professional tournaments competing as an amateur. Since 2013, the man nicknamed “Joaco” has 22 victories across multiple continents.

“Joaquín is an exciting young player who won virtually every prestigious junior title and then rose to be the world’s top amateur, so we’re proud to be associated with that level of talent and accomplishment,” Solheim said. “His skill is amazing, and he’s shown the consistency and dedication to separate himself. We’ve known Joaco for years, and to watch him play you can see why he’s been successful at every step in his journey. We look forward to supporting him as he pursues his goal to play at the highest level.”

Niemann has already accepted sponsors’ invites on the PGA Tour and will begin his pro career Thursday at the Valero Texas Open, and he will also play the Wells Fargo Championship, AT&T Byron Nelson and the Memorial. He will divide his time between the PGA and Web.com tours, with the goal of playing the PGA Tour full time.

Having had PING clubs for years, Niemann said he’s grateful to formalize the relationship. “PING has a great reputation and I like being associated with them because their technology allows me to play my best golf,” he said. “I have so much confidence in PING, and their people who’ve supported me are like family. They know my game really well and can make the necessary adjustments to get the most out of every round I play. Having the backing of PING means everything.”  

In the bag, Niemann has a G400 LST driver, G400 3-wood and hybrid, iBlade irons, Glide 2.0 wedges, and a Karsten Anser 2 putter. As part of the multi-year agreement, he will carry a PING staff bag and play a minimum of 11 PING clubs, including a driver and putter. Niemann’s headwear will display PING branding.

Financial terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed.

Old Meets New: The Redesigned 2018 Wedge Series

(Scottsdale, AZ) - Miura Golf introduces the 2018 Wedge Series as the latest edition to its lineup being release this year. "The new Wedge Series preserves the timeless elements of the old Series and incorporates modifications that make these clubs a pleasure to play," says Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf.
                         
The updated Series is redesigned with bounce angles that reduce resistance, allowing players to cut through turf effortlessly. A rounded leading edge combined with redefined bounce angles create quality impact that leads to a crisp and consistent divot. The 2018 Wedge Series is made of premium (S25C) soft carbon steel and is finished in a beautiful satin chrome. Available in odd-numbered lofts, this wedge makes solid feel and distance control available to players like never before.

"It takes the mind of an engineer and a soul of an artist to create these golf clubs. That's the spirit behind Miura's new 2018 Wedge Series," adds McGarity.

For more information on Miura Golf, visit www.MiuraGolf.com. Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiuraGolf, on Twitter @MiuraGolfInc, and Instagram @MiuraGolf.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

USGA Announces USA Team For 40th Curtis Cup Match

Match will be held June 8-10 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y.

(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.) - Lilia Vu, of Fountain Valley, Calif., the No. 1-ranked female amateur golfer in the world, was among the eight players named today by the United States Golf Association (USGA) to the USA Team for the 2018 Curtis Cup Match, to be conducted June 8-10 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y.

The players are:
- Mariel Galdiano, 19, of Pearl City, Hawaii
- Kristen Gillman, 20, of Austin, Texas
- Jennifer Kupcho, 20, of Westminster, Colo.
- Andrea Lee, 19, of Hermosa Beach, Calif.
- Lucy Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif.
- Sophia Schubert, 22, of Oak Ridge, Tenn.
- Lauren Stephenson, 20, of Lexington, S.C.
- Lilia Vu, 20, of Fountain Valley, Calif.

“We couldn’t be prouder to announce that these eight terrific young women will represent the United States in the 40th Curtis Cup Match,” said Mark Newell, USGA president. “They are among the most talented players in the world, and not only that, they are true ambassadors for the game and for the USGA. We all wish them the best as they prepare to compete this June at Quaker Ridge.”

The Curtis Cup Match is a biennial international women’s amateur golf competition between eight-player teams from the United States of America and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I). It consists of six foursomes (alternate-shot) matches, six four-ball matches and eight singles matches over three days of competition. The USGA’s International Team Selection (ITS) Committee selects the USA Team, while the Ladies’ Golf Union selects the GB&I Team.

"Our committee is extremely thoughtful during the selection process and takes very seriously the opportunity to select the members of this team," said Martha Lang, of Birmingham, Ala., who is in her first year as chair of the ITS Committee and fourth year as a member of the USGA Executive Committee. "We know the players we selected are extraordinarily talented competitors who will embody the tradition of camaraderie set forth by Margaret and Harriot Curtis in 1932."

All eight players on the USA Team are among the top 25 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, with Vu (No. 1), Kupcho (No. 3), Lee (No. 5), Stephenson (No. 7) and Li (No. 10) in the top 10. Two members of the team, Galdiano and Lee, competed in the 2016 Match.

Last month, Vu set a UCLA school record at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational, winning her fourth straight individual title dating back to last fall. She is a two-time first-team All-American who last year advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Kupcho, a junior at Wake Forest, finished T21 at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. She finished tied for second in the 2017 NCAA Championship, before winning the Canadian Women’s Amateur title in July. She is also a first-team Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American.

Lee was a member of the 2016 Curtis Cup Team that lost to GB&I, 11.5-8.5. A sophomore at Stanford University, she garnered several honors following her freshman year, including Pac-12 freshman of the year, Pac-12 first team and Ping/Women’s Golf Coaches Association freshman of the year. Picking up where she left off, her sophomore season began with three individual victories in her first five starts. Lee was the runner-up in the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and a semifinalist in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She has also won two SCGA Women’s Amateur titles.

Stephenson is wrapping up her junior year at the University of Alabama, majoring in communications. Last year, she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur and tied for 41st in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. She was a second team WGCA All-American, a second team Golfweek All-American and a first team All-SEC selection in 2017.

Li became a household name in 2014, when she became the youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at 11 years, 8 months and 19 days old and was a Drive, Chip and Putt National Champion. In 2017, she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur and earned medalist honors at the U.S. Girls’ Junior before losing in the Round of 32. She competed in the 2017 and 2018 LPGA’s ANA Inspiration, earning low-amateur honors in 2017, and is the first 15-year-old on the USA Curtis Cup Team since Lexi Thompson in 2010.

Galdiano was a member of the 2016 Curtis Cup Team and 2016 Women’s World Amateur Team, and is currently in her sophomore year at UCLA. She won individual and team gold for Team USA at the World University Games in Taiwan in August, and competed in her fourth U.S. Women’s Open in July. She was a three-time Hawaii state high school champion.

Gillman is a sophomore at the University of Alabama, where she was a first team WGCA All-American and First Team Golfweek All-American in her freshman season, which also earned her SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Last summer, she advanced to the Round of 32 in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, after winning the championship as a 16-year-old in 2014.

Schubert won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club by a 6-and-5 margin over Stanford University standout Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland. The University of Texas senior earned WGCA All-America honorable mention, and has also been named to the All-Big 12 team the past two seasons. By way of her Women’s Amateur victory, she will compete in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open this May at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

The alternates for the USA Team are, in order of ranking: Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., and Emilia Migliaccio, 18, of Cary, N.C.

Virginia Derby Grimes, the 1998 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and a member of the victorious 1998, 2000 and 2006 Curtis Cup Teams, will serve as USA captain.

"It's exciting to have the team announced and to start preparing for June," said Derby Grimes. "I've had the opportunity to get to know many of these young women over the past few months, and I can tell you firsthand that they are not only remarkable players, but remarkable people who take representing the United States extremely seriously. We're going to work hard over the next few weeks and give the GB&I Team all we've got!

For the second straight Match, Elaine Farquharson-Black will serve as GB&I captain. Farquharson-Black, a native of Scotland, represented GB&I in the 1990 and 1992 Curtis Cup Matches, and captained the team to victory in 2016.

Bronte Law, of England, became just the second player in the competition's history to go 5-0-0 in leading GB&I to an 11.5-8.5 victory at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland in 2016. Law, an All-American at UCLA, joined the USA's Stacy Lewis (2008) in this prestigious club. The USA won the 2014 Match at St Louis (Mo.) Country Club, 13-7, and leads the overall series, 28-8-3.

Notable past USA Curtis Cup Team members include U.S. Women’s Open champions JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Patty Sheehan, Hollis Stacy and Michelle Wie, as well as past and present LPGA stars such as Lewis, Thompson, Beth Daniel, Jessica Korda, Nancy Lopez and Dottie Pepper.

To learn more, visit usga.org.