Monday, July 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information: www.youthoncourse.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jackson Park Advisory Council Committee Reaffirms Support for Golf Course Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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