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.