Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Sir Nick Faldo Says 'Bonjour' to New Project in Paris


Sir Nick set to rejuvenate the golf experience at Golf de Val-Grand as part of wider investment into South Paris Country Club

(South Paris, France) — Sir Nick Faldo has announced his latest golf course design project at Golf de Val-Grand, his first ever in France, with aspirations to create an exciting country club venue with a premium academy facility. 

Located just over 25km from the centre of Paris, the design is set to welcome the club’s surrounding community to enjoy a strategic and inviting test that champions endless enjoyment for all golfing abilities.

Included within the rejuvenation and re-energising of the golf course, the Faldo Design team will introduce a complete redesign of all 18 green complexes to USGA specifications, reprofile numerous fairways and playing strategies of holes, as well as inject a new energy to the bunkering. Whilst original features of the course, most notably its series of lakes and streams, will be brought further into play to add visual excitement and create a truly memorable playing experience.

In addition to the course, the project will also champion playability and growing the game with the inclusion of a premium golf academy facility, featuring cutting-edge technologies as well as a nine-hole short course to support and catalyse players’ development. This aligns with the proposed four sets of tees and open fairways, which will further encourage progression and invite new and experienced players to enjoy the venue together. 

Showing a commitment to upgrading the wider venue, the club will see major investment to create a holistic leisure facility with enhancements also penned for the clubhouse, a small village of accommodation lodges, swimming pool, spa and tennis courts, as well as upgrades to its renowned and highly regarded restaurant. 

The first sortie for Faldo Design in France will be much celebrated by the six-time Major Champion, who himself will look to follow great success in the country during his illustrious career, winning three Open de France titles, with a course that embodies his strategic vision and passion for the game. 

Announcing the project, Sir Nick Faldo, said: “We are delighted to announce our work with Val-Grand and are extremely excited for the potential of the golf course and the venue as a whole for golfers of all abilities to enjoy, learn and relax.

“The site here is unique, with threads of all playing surfaces introduced throughout the routing. The conifer trees almost create a heathland vibe, whilst the lakes and greenery feel more parkland. With the new and rippling fairways, the uneven stances will even be reminiscent of links golf. This variety, so close to Paris, I believe, will create a great course where people can enjoy their golf and also the wider facilities here with the planned investment and ambitions from the owners too. Following a fantastic 2018 Ryder Cup here, we know the passion of the French golfing community is vibrant and growing, and we look forward to celebrating alongside them ahead of the Paris Olympics come 2024.”

The course construction is set to begin in the second half of 2022, with ground-breaking planned for July, before growing in begins in the Spring of 2023 through to early May 2024 where the first players are then expected to tee off. 

Golf de Val-Grand Owner, Robert Delin, celebrated collaborating with Sir Nick Faldo, saying: “The collaboration with Faldo Design is very exciting for Val-Grand and the project that we are undertaking. Inviting a true legend of the game to share his knowledge and visions with us is a privilege, and we are inspired by the plans and vision of what we can achieve together over the coming years.

“Throughout the venue we want to connect with the local community and build a fantastic space for our members to enjoy, and our work with the Faldo Design team will undoubtedly help us to take this experience to the next level, both on and off the golf course.”

For more information on Faldo Design, go to www.nickfaldodesign.com.

For more information on Golf de Val-Grand go to www.golf-de-val-grand.com.

Three Places in the 150th Open at St. Andrews on Offer at the Joburg Open


(Johannesburg, South Africa)
— The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Joburg Open who are not already exempt will earn places in The 150th Open at St Andrews from 10-17 July 2022.

The Joburg Open is the first event in The Open Qualifying Series and will be played over the Firethorn Course at Randpark in Johannesburg from 25-28 November.

Players in the field at the Joburg Open who are already exempt for The 150th Open at St Andrews:

- Dean Burmester

- Dylan Frittelli

- Justin Harding

- Shaun Norris

In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 22 November will be awarded a place in The 150th Open.

Hamilton Farm GC Member Mark Costanza Named 2021 MGA ‘Player of the Year’ for Second Straight Year

Award recognizes “consistent, high-level play” by Costanza, who calls Gladstone, NJ-based Hamilton Farm his home course

(Gladstone, N.J.) — Hamilton Farm Golf Club, a historic property featuring a premier two-course golf facility located in the scenic hills of Somerset County, NJ, is proud to announce that member Mark Costanza was named the recipient of the 2021 ‘Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year’ Award by the Elmsford, NY-based Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) for the second year in a row.

Mark Costanza
The prestigious award is presented annually to the Met Area amateur who compiles the best record in select events during the course of the year based on points earned for their finishes in designated local, national, and international championships.  Costanza earned 797 points in just six events thanks to a steady run of high finishes and consistent, high-level play and will receive the award at the MGA’s 124th Annual Meeting and Dinner on December 1st, 2021 at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, NY.

Costanza’s receipt of both the 2021 and 2020 MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year Award follows numerous other outstanding designations he earned in the last two years, including 2021 Runner-Up in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in Siaconset, MA, 2020 New Jersey State Golf Association Player of the Year, and winner of both the 2020 New Jersey State Open and the 2020 MGA IKE Stroke Play Championship.  Costanza is currently ranked 211th among all-age amateur golfers in the world, is ranked 4th in the U.S. and 14th in the world among mid-amateur golfers (ages 25 and older), and has consistently finished among the top 10 golfers in all recent events he’s played.

Costanza describes his receipt of a second consecutive MGA Player of the Year Award as ‘surreal.’  “Having played in MGA events since I was 13, ‘Player of the Year’ was something I always aspired to but never thought I had a chance to win at this point in my life,” shared Costanza, 32.  “To be on that list just once is an incredible honor, but to have won it twice and in back-to-back years is very special and something I’m extremely proud of.”

“Mark’s accomplishments in the golf world over the past several years are astonishing and one-of-a-kind and we’re all so honored to have him as part of our Hamilton Farm family,” shared Michael Ferguson, Hamilton Farm General Manager.  “As outstanding a golfer as Mark is, however, he’s an even a better person who truly embodies the values that Hamilton Farm holds in high esteem.  We’re proud and excited to watch our hallways fill up with his trophies!”

“I’ve played a lot of great clubs around the country and very few possess the special ‘it factor’ that Hamilton Farm has,” said Costanza, who joined Hamilton Farm -- a Hurdzan and Fry-designed course that was recently named New Jersey PGA Section ‘Club of the Year’ for the third time since 2012 – in 2017.  “Between its spectacular golf courses, outstanding food, exceptional staff, and wonderful members who are like family to me, I feel very lucky to call Hamilton Farm my home course.”

For more information, contact Erin Walsh, Membership Director at Hamilton Farm Golf Club, at (908) 901-4040 or visit www.hamiltonfarmgolfclub.com.

Yas Links Abu Dhabi Partners with Marriott Business Council to Raise Money for Operation Smile UAE


Charity at the heart of Links Fundraiser golf day

(Abu Dhabi, UAE) — The Links Fundraiser in partnership with Marriott Business Council made its debut on the Middle Eastern golfing calendar at the world renowned Yas Links Abu Dhabi. Supported by Club Captains Carol Tweedie and Aart Lehmkuhl, the golf day was organised as a Team Shambles, with the event aiming to raise as much money as possible for good causes.

The official charity at the heart of the event is Operation Smile UAE, a non-profit medical service organisation which provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children. Operation Smile works as a non-governmental organisation globally to reduce the occurrence of cleft lips and palates; develops ambassadorships to raise awareness of cleft issues; sponsors a world care programme for international cases requiring special care; organises foundations worldwide to assist countries in reaching self-sufficiency with cleft surgeries as well as administering worldwide education programmes related to cleft issues.

Morag Cromey-Hawke, Executive Director, Operation Smile UAE said: “Our job is to bring hope to families who have felt such anguish on behalf of their child. We are very lucky to see first-hand the difference our work does, particularly for parents. Events such as the Links Fundraiser are invaluable to us as an organisation, as a means of raising much needed funds and it’s even more gratifying to know that those who have been so generous in helping us were able to enjoy themselves in the process and raise awareness of the work we do.”

Both Yas Links Abu Dhabi and Marriott Business Council UAE did their bit for the day by providing around eighty prizes in total for a raffle and a hotly contested silent auction, which was supported by the generous amateur players who travelled from afar to take part in the day’s action. Once in a lifetime experiences from Marriott International properties were auctioned, with the finest culinary teams from multiple hotels showcasing their best flavours. The event raised AED 93,500 for Operation Smile.

Matthias Widor, Cluster General Manager, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa and Courtyard Marriott Abu Dhabi WTC commented: “The Links Fundraiser was a fantastic, unique event. As there is nothing better than raising valuable funds whilst participants can simultaneously enjoy themselves whilst playing golf. I am sure everyone enjoyed the on-course competitions, prizes and superb food and beverage throughout. It was brilliant to welcome so many familiar faces as possible on the day and I hope that this will become a regular fixture on the golfing calendar for years to come.”

The Team Shambles saw the best two scores from each four ball count, with an 85% handicap allowance. Players without a handicap played off zero. Guests paid AED 750 to play and members AED 250. Every entry saw 100 AED go towards the overall fundraising effort. A total of 78 players participated along with hotels including: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, The Abu Dhabi Edition, Aloft Abu Dhabi, Courtyard by Marriott, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai and Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai.

Matthew Waters, Group Director of Golf, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Yas Links Abu Dhabi said: “The Links Fundraiser was an unforgettable day out for our participating amateur golfers to compete in. All those involved were treated to a great day out and no doubt enjoyed a unique experience, yet more important is the role that events such as these play in terms of raising much needed funds for good causes and we were delighted to have Operation Smile UAE onboard as this year’s official charity.”

For more information about Yas Links Abu Dhabi, visit: www.troonabudhabi.com/yas-links

KemperSports Properties Surpass $1 Million in Donations for Folds of Honor


(NORTHBROOK, Illinois)
– KemperSports properties recently exceeded the $1 million milestone in fundraising efforts for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the families of fallen or disabled military men and women. Since 2013, the golf course management company has worked closely with the organization and inspired staff across its portfolio to host creative programming, events, fundraisers and friendly competitions to benefit the organization. Through the collective efforts of its staff, KemperSports has funded more than 200 Folds of Honor scholarships.

“KemperSports is an incredible partner, and we are grateful for its commitment to our mission and the selfless giving of so many staff members who have helped reach this milestone,” said Folds of Honor Founder/CEO Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney. “We are proud to continue our work with KemperSports and its staff as we further our mission of honoring the sacrifice and educating the legacy of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Notable fundraising efforts over the last three years include the team at the Village of Sands Point (Sands Point, N.Y.) who collectively raised $94,000, the team at Hawthorn Woods (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) who  raised $68,000, and the team at Golden Horseshoe (Williamsburg, Va.) who raised more than $40,000. Scott Bailey of the Governors Club (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Cody Franke of Desert Willow Golf Resort (Palm Desert, Calif.) also stand out as Folds of Honor champions for the company, leading significant  fundraising efforts that contributed to the million dollar mark. KemperSports’ relationship with Folds of Honor is a year-round effort and reaching this million dollar mark is an important step in the company’s long term goals to support the organization.

“Supporting Folds of Honor and serving the communities in which we operate is ingrained in our company culture,” said KemperSports Senior Vice President Mark Hoesing, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “We are so proud to be able to support the families of those who have given so much for our country. This is by no means an end to our giving and our fundraising efforts, but rather a reminder of what’s possible when our teams come together to support such a worthy cause. We look forward to continuing our support of Folds of Honor in the years to come and hiring scholarship recipients to work for our company and our clients.”

For more information on this and other KemperSports community efforts, visit www.kempersports.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Rain or Shine Golf Announces Holiday Daily Deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday


(CHARLOTTE, N.C.)
– Rain or Shine Golf – the leading resource helping all golfers create their dream at-home golf simulator or practice setup – announces its holiday daily deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that include a variety of products in different price points that make ideal gifts for the holiday season.

Ideas include everything from portable launch monitors to hitting mats and simulator packages that utilize the company’s proprietary components. Please see below the list for descriptions and when the deals will begin for each product:

11.16.2021 – SwingBay Golf Simulator Screen and Enclosure: Starting Nov. 16th until Nov. 29th, SwingBay will be reduced to $3,199. Featuring its heavy-duty projector screen and an easy to assemble framing system, users will be able to golf anytime anywhere.

11.22.2021 – Mevo+ Launch Monitor: Starting Nov. 22nd until Nov. 29th, reduced to $1,799 is Mevo+’s premium launch monitor, which was named 2021 Golf Digest Editor’s Choice for best launch monitor under $2,000.

11.22.2021 – Mevo Launch Monitor: From Nov. 22nd to Nov. 29th, the most portable launch monitor that can be used indoors and outdoors will be reduced to $424.

11.24.2021 – Rhapsodo MLM (Mobile Launch Monitor): Starting on Nov. 24th to Dec. 1st, Reduced to $349 is Rhapsodo’s portable launch monitor using either an iPhone or iPad to provide feedback on the user’s swing through shot data, instant video replay, and active shot tracers.

11.26.2021 – SwingTurf Golf Mat 5’x5’: From Nov. 26th to Nov. 29th the perfect mat combination of quality and affordability while giving realistic feedback on miss-hits and poorly hit shots, will be reduced to $490.

11.27.2021 – PuttOut Putting Mat and Trainer Cup: Starting Nov. 27th until Nov. 29th, the reliable setup for practicing the most important part of a golfers game will be reduced to $110.

11.29.2021 – The Perfect Practice Putting Mat:  Starting and ending on Nov. 29th, Cyber Monday, the lightweight and easy to store 9' 6" putting mat will be reduced $40 to $139. This is a must have for any golfer, featuring automatic ball return, distance markers and alignment aids.

“As Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, we wanted to give our customers the opportunity to pick up some great products at a tremendous prices,” says Shawn Foley, Co-Founder or Rain or Shine Golf. “Our Holiday Daily Deals are fun ways to engage our buyers while providing terrific options for gifts this holiday season.”

Taking advantage of its price match guarantee program, customers can earn free shipping on orders to the lower 48 states, safe and secure ordering via SSL encryption technology, volume discounts on select items, manufacturer warranties on every order and financing options to help individuals spread out payments.

To learn more about Rain or Shine Golf, visit https://rainorshinegolf.com/, call 888.831.9489 or follow on social at Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.  

Belvedere Golf Club Will Host 2023 Hickory Grail Matches


The highly acclaimed Ryder Cup style event will bring hickory golfers from Great Britain/Europe to compete against the U.S.  

(CHARLEVOIX, MI) – Belvedere Golf Club, the classic William Watson design located in Northern Michigan, announces that the club has been selected to host one of the premier hickory club events in the world, The Hickory Grail in 2023. The Hickory Grail matches is a Ryder Cup style event where 13 of the most passionate hickory players from the United States and Great Britain/Europe compete in the oldest international hickory match in golf.

Belvedere members Ross Hays and Jerry Esselman, along with head pro Marty Joy, were all named to this year’s U.S. Grail team who competed in the event last month at the famed St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland. Since 2000, the U.S. team and Great Britain/Europe have tied 6-6 in retaining the cup in the friendly matches played in the spirit of the game.

“With Belvedere’s history and the passion that our club members have for hickory club play, it was a natural fit for us to be selected to host The Grail Cup”, said Joy. “To have been able to participate in this prestigious event at St. Andrews, the home of golf, and now to play host is a dream come true for all of us at the club. We are very proud to welcome this event and fellow hickory players from across the Atlantic to play the game as it was meant to be played.” 

The Hickory Grail was founded in 2000 by American’s Ralph Livingston III and Tom Stewart, both hickory pioneers and experts, along with Scotland’s David Hamilton, one of today's premier golf historians. The biennial event is conducted under the auspices of The British Golf Collectors Society, with current membership of 700+ members in Great Britain, America and around the world. The tournament is noted for selecting many of the world’s most prestigious historical courses for its venues. Among them are St. Andrews; Baltustrol; Kilspindie, Scotland and Falsterbo GK, Sweden. Visit https://thehickorygrail.com.

Belvedere is the only club in the U.S. to have as many as 44 antique hickory club players and hosts Hickory tournaments annually including the Belvedere Hickory Open since 2006 and in 2019 hosted the national U.S. Hickory Open. Competitors dress in period appropriate apparel, including knickers, ties, and jackets. Conservative estimates of the total number of hickory players in the world now total about 3,000 and growing. 

Belvedere, with its classic parkland layout designed by William Watson in 1925, has always been the perfect venue for hickory club play. Watson’s masterpieces include famous classic and major championship designs like Olympia Fields in Chicago, Harding Park in San Francisco, Interlachen in Minneapolis, The Olympic Club in San Francisco, and others.

Belvedere, named 2016 Michigan Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, has been a respected tournament venue for nearly a century, having hosted the Michigan Amateur 40 times. Beginning in 1963, Belvedere hosted the event for 26 consecutive years. The 41st hosting of the Michigan Amateur at Belvedere will come in 2025, the club’s centennial year.

Stretching to 6,906 yards, Belvedere isn’t long by modern standards, but the challenge lies in the short game around the dynamic green complexes, which features subtle undulations, ridges and slopes that fall off to chipping areas. Belvedere recently went through a major restoration bringing the green complexes back to the original drawings. Leading golf architects describe Belvedere’s greens as on par with those at renowned courses, such as Augusta National and Oakmont.

The course has long been a favorite of many golf greats, including legend Walter Hagen, who won the first Great Lakes Open at Belvedere, and five-time British Open winner Tom Watson, who as a youngster honed his game playing summers at Belvedere. He remains a member today and calls the short par-four 16th hole one of the great par fours in America.

For information about Belvedere Golf Club visit www.belvederegolfclub.com.