Tournaments are doing creative things to entice top players to consider playing in their events.
The Travelers Championship is known for its “custom” red and white M&M’s with the winner’s name and image, along with other enticements to attract players.
Case in point, the Travelers Championship, seated immediately behind (and completely across the country) from this year’s U.S. Open, offered players free charter flights for them and their families from the Seattle/Tacoma to their tournament near Harftord.
They also are famous for the custom M&M’s with the likeness of their winner.
So, how do you attract the former World’s #1, and believe it or not, now the World’s #220 (wow, what a fall from Blues Station 104.0, click HERE if you didn’t catch our blog on it), Tiger Woods?
Well, not many of those tournaments have been successful yet, but we’re pretty sure we know what you DON’T want to offer as an incentive to get him to your place. Here are our Top 5, in descending order:
#5 – Barbasol Classic – Assuming there’s a year sometime in the next 40 years when Tiger doesn’t want to play in the Open Championship, the second best place to be that week is in lovely Auburn, Alabama (although Alabama Crimson Tide fans might dispute that) for the Barbasol Classic. It might not be a good idea for the folks in Auburn to offer an “Instructors All Star Foursome” for Tiger’s pro-am partners, those being Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and Chris Como. If we were on the Barbasol committee, we’d suggest working a deal where Tiger gets to toss the first roll of toilet paper after Auburn beats Louisville on September 5. The game’s in Atlanta so if the toss doesn’t go that great, not many will see it anyway.
Harbour Town Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, immediately behind #18 green of Harbour Town Golf Links
#4 – RBC Heritage – Probably one of the most popular tournaments on tour, Woods has never played in this event at Harbour Town Golf Links. Likely, because it’s the week following the Masters. In the recruitment of Tiger, we certainly would not suggest a practice round with Rick Reilly, who wrote the book “Tiger, Meet my Sister…….and other things I possibly shouldn’t have said.” Stick with the red tartan winner’s jacket and soft shell crabs at the marina.
#3 – John Deere Classic – Rumor has it that the folks at the John Deere were thinking of offering up a secret time and place for Tiger to have a lesson with David Leadbetter, the only instructor that TW’s not tried to this point. We suggest otherwise, perhaps offering to pair him with Bill Murray in the pro-am, or guaranteeing Tiger his 2-4 tournament rounds (depending if he makes the cut) with 3 time champion Steve Stricker, who basically owns the place.
Former Edwin Watts Golf employee Kenny Nicholson, along with former World’s Number 1 Tiger Woods, play blackjack at a NIKE Golf sponsored event a few years back.
#1 – The FUTURE MASTERS – If he ever get’s tired of the real Masters, there’s always the Press Thornton Future Mastersin Dothan, Alabama which has been going on for 66 plus years. With winners such as Stewart Cink, Briney Baird, Shaun Micheel and Mark Brooks, TW would have a chance to add his name to an impressive list of past champions, although they won at 18 years of age or less. While we do recommend showing some of the sights and attractions of Dothan, such as the Ross Clark Circle and Wiregrass Churchto the esteemed tournament guest, we certainly would not recommend to the committee under any circumstances waiving the mandatory qualifying and and the $250 non-refundable entry fee.
The next time you go shopping for new clubs, consider the following advice from Worldwide Golf Shops Purchasing Assistant and club expert Nate McDonough.
>> The first priority should be to pinpoint your specific needs. For instance, a low-ball hitter should focus on new equipment with a low center of gravity to help launch the ball more easily. This criteria alone will eliminate nearly half of the options on the market without having to test every model. It will also ensure that your most pressing need is addressed, which translates to better golf.
>> When shopping for new clubs, focus on the weak spots in your game, because you stand to gain much more out of the purchase.
>> Always bring something from your own bag with you to establish a baseline for your numbers. This takes the guesswork out of interpreting indoor launch monitors versus the golf course.
>> The key to expediting an equipment search is defining the goals. If distance is the primary objective, lightweight technology should be a focal point. This means that the adjustable clubs that tend to be heavier can be eliminated. If a lower trajectory is the top priority, the lightweight clubs should be disregarded as they will only increase the frustrations of a high-ball-hitter. Tendencies are the fastest way to eliminate options.
>> Your necessities should be the only thing guiding the search for new equipment. Once tendencies are understood, you can jump from brand to brand comparing the corresponding technologies.
>> When you come into a store looking for new clubs, the sales person will be asking the majority of the questions to start the fitting process. It’s going to sound something like: What clubs do you play now? Do you play steel or graphite? Stiff or regular? Do you miss left or right? What do you like and dislike about your clubs now? What club do you hit 150 yards? With each answer the fitter gets a better understanding for what your expectations are, and what will help to improve your game.
>> Oftentimes, the final decision is the most difficult, especially when it’s between comparable models offering similar results. In these situations I suggest that preferences should be the determining factor – that is the look, feel and sound of a club. These tend to be the factors that sell themselves.
Customers weigh in on the hottest drivers, fairway woods and hybrids!
Southern California Roger Dunn Golf Shops customers to join us for a day on the driving range testing the latest golf equipment and and recording the results. We narrowed the search to seven golfers of various abilities to test clubs from nine top manufacturers at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Orange County, considered one of the top high-end courses in the region. In this issue we look at drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, while in our next edition we will feature top irons and wedges.
With so many options in golf equipment today, shoppers can be overwhelmed with where to even begin. The beauty of all these options is that manufacturers have found ways to accommodate nearly every skill levels on the golf course. With that in mind, we gathered a group of everyday golfers to put the most popular brands on the market to the test on the driving range. Here’s what they had to say…
DRIVERS: CALLAWAY XR
THE BASICS: Speed is the driving force behind the new Callaway XR driver. An aerodynamic crown, an R•MOTO face, and maximum shaft load have created a titanium driver that reduces drag and maximizes speed through the swing.
WHAT THEY SAID…
“Looks good. Lightweight and adjustable.” – Robert Lindsay
“Gorgeous all-black club with nice distance.” – Laura Qvistgaard
“Head shape is a bit weird, but it’s easy to swing and I like the matte finish.” – Roy Giannini
“A bit on the heavy side. Impact is different, but I really like the grip and feel of the club.” – Javier Chavez
THE BASICS: First fairway wood with sliding weight for shot shape adjusta- bility. The most ad- justable fairway wood to date. New Front Track system performs like a speed pocket, reducing spin and increasing size of sweet spot.
WHAT THEY SAID…
“I like the adjustability and weight.” – Robert Lindsay
“Easy to control, forgives bad hits and swings fast.” – Javier Chavez
THE BASICS: To increase face deflection and ball speed for adding distance with a higher peak trajectory, the 17-4 stainless steel face uses a stronger H900 heat-treat- ment process, making it thin but strong. The result is more distance with the steeper landing angle to hold shots on the green.
WHAT THEY SAID…
“Very smooth, light and goes far.” – Roy Giannini
“One of my favorites, great feel on the swing and impact.” – Javier Chavez “Solid!” – John Brent
In 1968, Edwin Watts was a 23-year-old assistant professional at a municipal golf course in Fort Walton, Fla., when he was suddenly handed the head professional job. At the time, there wasn’t a great deal of golf in the region, located on the Florida Pan handle about half way between Tallahassee and Mobile, Ala. There were even fewer places to purchase golf equipment. So the young Watts decided to try and take the small pro shop that he inherited along with his new job to the next level. It worked. By the time Watts sold his company in 2003, it had grown to approximately 65 stores spread across the south eastern portion of the United States. Today, Edwin Watts Golf still bears its founder’s name, but it’s now an integral component of Worldwide Golf Shops, which purchased the chain in its largest acquisition to date in December, 2013. “Edwin thought something was missing in the area,” said Kerry Kabase, a Worldwide Golf Shops consultant who began working for Watts in 1978. “He wanted something that not only offered a good selection of clubs, but also apparel and shoes, basically a full service golf shop. that concept hadn’t really taken off yet.” Watts’ shop grew and he gradually came to the realization that a golf store didn’t have to be located on a actual golf course, but could be housed in a stand-alone building. He and his brother opened up another shop in Memphis, Tenn., and then “started picking off areas in the southeast, one at a time,” Kabase said. “It was a slow process because he wasn’t that financed, but when he had enough money to open, he did. And they turned out to be very successful.” By the time Watts sold the company to a private equity firm in 2003, it had grown to dozens of stores, Kabase said. Though Edwin Watts Golf is now part of Worldwide Golf Shops (it currently has 48 stores from Texas to Florida and as far north as Missouri) Kabase said it was a perfect marriage. And what of the man whose name is still affixed to the brand? He’s still around and still making a difference in golf. Kabase said that several years ago, a golf course in Watts’ community was about to be sold to a developer who was going to build on it. Watts got a group of friends together and decided to buy it. “They figured they would buy it themselves and keep the course in the neighborhood,” and Kabase of Shalimar Pointe Golf Club. “And it’s never been more successful.”
It was actually very ironic that we saw trains crisscrossing the US Open venue on a regular basis. I’m just glad none of them took a cue from the players Sunday afternoon and derailed.
The first derailment came from Rory McIlroy. 6 under for the day and staring at a 4 footer for birdie on 14 to go -3 for the tournament. With the reachable par 4 16 coming up as well as the par 5 18th Rory was looking to post a -5 on the board and make the players behind try to match it. But he misses the 4 footer and bogeys 15 and 17 and ends up even for the tournament.
Next comes Brendan Grace. Tied for the lead going to the reachable 16th he looks like he actually tried to hit one of the trains off the tee. His OB leads to a double bogey and his chances were gone. Jordan Speith is next. After a brilliant birdie putt on 16 to go 3 up on the field he butchers the par 3 17th and make a double bogey. He does get it back on the track with a clutch birdie on 18 to get it to -5.
But the biggest derailment is yet to come. Dustin Johnson seemed like a man among boys on Sunday.
Booming drives and seemingly hitting wedges into every par 4. His power game was in full display. It looked like he could have birdied almost every hole on the front side. But DJ has some bad memories in majors. The collapse at Pebble Beach, the wayward 2 iron at the Open Championship and of course the confusion at Whistling Straits.
He stepped to the tee at 17 on Sunday at -3 and realistically knew he had to play the last 2 holes 2 under to have a chance.
What follows are 3 of the best shots hit in the entire tournament. He hits it to 3 feet for birdie on 17, a hole no one could get close to all day. He follows that up with maybe the best tee shot ever hit in a US Open on 18. It enables him to hit a 5 iron into a 600 yard hole that lands 12 feet from the hole. I can’t remember anyone hitting 3 shots like that in a US Open with the tournament on the line. But DJ joins the derailment party and 3 putts and finishes second.
Two shots cover 600 yards but it takes 3 to go 12 feet. It just doesn’t seem fair. But the US Open usually isn’t.