COUNTRY CLUB OF BIRMINGHAM TO HOST 2016 USGA MEN’S STATE TEAM

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2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur host site awarded second USGA championship

FAR HILLS, N.J. (March 26, 2015) – The Country Club of Birmingham, in Birmingham, Ala., has been selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the host site for the 2016 USGA Men’s State Team Championship. The club’s second USGA championship will be contested Sept. 28-30.

“The USGA looks forward to returning to the Country Club of Birmingham for the 2016 USGA Men’s State Team Championship,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Based on the club’s rich history of contributing to amateur golf, we are confident it will provide a fantastic environment for this biennial team championship that brings together amateur players from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.”

Founded in 1898, the Country Club of Birmingham relocated from its original site in North Birmingham to Shades Valley, where two 18-hole courses were designed in 1926 by renowned architect Donald Ross. The 2016 USGA Men’s State Team Championship – the sixth USGA championship contested in Alabama – will use the West Course.

The Country Club of Birmingham hosted the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, won by Michael McCoy, of West Des Moines, Iowa. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state and a Birmingham native, served as keynote speaker for the championship’s players’ dinner. The club has hosted nine Alabama State Amateurs and served as the companion course to Shoal Creek for the 1986 U.S. Amateur. The course also served as a sectional qualifying site for the 2012 and 2014 U.S. Junior Amateurs.

“The Country Club of Birmingham is pleased to have the opportunity to host the 2016 USGA Men’s State Team Championship,” said Jack Brown, club president. “Our club has a long history of supporting amateur golf, and the chance to host another USGA championship is a real thrill for our membership. We look forward to working with the USGA in planning what we hope will be a memorable event for all involved.”

The USGA Men’s and Women’s State Team Championships began in 1995 and have since been contested biennially. Beginning in 2010, Men’s State Teams have been contested in even-numbered years and Women’s State Teams in odd-numbered years. The championships are open to players from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. USGA-designated state and regional golf associations may use any criteria of their choosing in selecting their teams, which comprise three amateur, non-college golfers.

The USGA Men’s State Team Championship is a 54-hole, stroke-play event contested over three days. In each 18-hole round, the total of the two lowest scores by players on each team constitutes the team score for the round. The three-day total is the team’s score for the championship. Alabama’s best finish in a Men’s State Team Championship came in 2005, when it finished second at Berkeley Hall Club’s South Course in Bluffton, S.C. Texas has claimed the championship a record four times: 1999, 2005, 2007 and 2014.

Are You Ready to Gear Up for the Masters?

The Masters is here!  Take a look at the special edition products available this season.

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KENTWOOL Bubba Green Socks

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A 172-year-old textile innovator, KENTWOOL is re-issuing the limited-edition Bubba Green Tour Profile golf socks with proceeds supporting the Bubba Watson Foundation when purchased using code BWSOCKS. Available until April 30, the Tour Profile socks are made from a proprietary blend of superfine Merino wool and high-tech fibers for a luxuriously soft feel that also keeps feet dry and odor-free all day long. Made in the USA, all KENTWOOL socks boast a 100 percent blister free guarantee and enhanced cushioning at strategic micro-stress points for abrasion-proof comfort.

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ECCO ‘Signature Edition 1992’ Casual Hybrid

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Co-designed by Fred Couples, the ‘Signature Edition 1992’ version of its acclaimed Casual Hybrid model will be available at select retailers worldwide beginning early April. The shoe commemorates his two-stroke victory at the 1992 Masters and will be produced in a limited run of 1,992 pairs. It boasts an eye-catching white/green color combination and is laser-engraved with Couples’ distinctive autograph on the lateral (outer) side. Combining a sleek sneaker look with a premium leather upper and advanced performance technologies, the shoe is built atop the patented E-DTS outsole offering nearly 800 traction angles to promote superb grip in a variety of conditions.

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Arccos Green Limited Edition Billy Horschel Autograph Series

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The Arccos Green Limited Edition Autograph Series features a collectible box hand-signed by 2014 FedExCup winner Billy Horschel, and sensors in a distinctive green hue inspired by the year’s first major championship. This Limited Edition Series ($499) is available at www.arccosgolflimited.com.

 

 

All proceeds will benefit Horschel’s preferred charity, Feeding Northeast Florida, an organization devoted to providing food to families in need throughout the region.

As the industry’s only  GPS + live shot tracking + Tour analytics platform, Arccos maps, measures and records every shot taken during a round. Using GPS and Bluetooth technology, the system automatically captures critical data – club distances, putts per round, greens hit in regulation, driving accuracy and more – to help players identify patterns and refine strategy. Sensors attach to the grip end of each club and pair directly with the free iPhone app. There’s no need to tap, touch or interfere with the pre-swing routine. Arccos instantly tracks your game so you can see specific stats and review performance during or after each round. The app also provides GPS distances for each hole, eliminating the need to carry any additional devices.

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Lamkin Special Edition Wrap-Tech and UTx Grips

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 To celebrate the first Major Championship of the season, Lamkin is offering two Special Edition grips, the Wrap-Tech and UTx. Both models are available in a deep green and bright yellow colorway adorned with a contrasting white Lamkin logo. The Wrap-Tech combines a double-helix pattern with the company’s patented ACE compound, resulting in superior comfort and club control. The UTx features Tri-Layer Technology, offering golfers excellent traction, torsion control and grip stability. The two distinctive grips lend themselves especially well to golfers who are looking for slip resistant, all-weather playability and are available starting end of March for a limited time only through LamkinGrips.com.

 

 

Can Golf Learn A Lesson from the Military?

MoneyGolf Writer, Keith Cook, examines how military fee structures are a model for growing the game of golf.

While reading a particularly sobering article from the Washington Post, Why America Fell Out Of Love With Golf, I was once again convinced golf is in trouble. It might be temporary . . . “a market correction” as some will say, but no doubting our game needs some help in modern times.

The Washington Post article (linked at the bottom) details the trending downfall of golf from a business perspective, but also from a popularity sense within our fast-paced culture. The bottom line is financial, but the overall message is of a country no longer as enamored as it once was by the game of golf.

Thinking about this from a personal perspective, I wondered if my experiences in golf could help with a part of the solution. You see, I’m not your typical life-long golfer. I never played golf or walked onto a golf course until I was 22-years old. I would occasionally watch golf on TV and knew some of the game’s biggest names like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Trevino, but never really wanted to play golf – until that is, after I joined the military.

MILITARY GOLF

My second assignment in the military was to a large Air Base named Misawa Air Base in Northern Japan. About 2-months into my assignment, August 1987 (yes, a long time ago), I was asked to play in a select-shot tournament with friends. I remember it like it was yesterday and from the first tee shot forward until today, I have been in love with the game.

I wondered however, if golf was able to hook me so instantly, why is the population of today – specifically the younger generation – so unimpressed with “The Greatest Game Ever Played”? Of course, there are a ton of theories and nuanced discussions of why golf has experienced this downturn in recent years. Some popular thoughts involve time, some others include a perceived exclusive nature to the game. However, the primary reasoning as to why golf is currently declining, always centers back to one core idea – COST.

JUST TOO EXPENSIVE

For golf to stop the downturn and perhaps flourish once again, COST has to be addressed. Now my personal experience won’t lend itself to telling equipment manufacturers to calm down on releasing four or five of the next greatest drivers in a two-year span. I think one of the game’s largest, Taylor Made, has learned that lesson. However, what my experience as a consumer could bring is a perspective of how I was able to grow in the game as a beginner and keep playing all these years.

For me, it was simple economics. Even though I traveled all around the world in my nearly 30-years of service, the cost to play golf on military golf courses never became overwhelming or forced me to give up the game. If you are not aware, there are some 200 military golf courses operated worldwide by the Department of Defense. I’m not an official spokesperson and can only speak from my viewpoint, but it has been my experience that within these facilities there is not only a supreme focus on business, but also a supreme focus on trying to grow the game as well.

You may be asking, so how is this different than any other “civilian” course or golf facility around the country? They also focus on business and growing the game. All true, however, there is one big difference that I’ve noted – a staggered green fee and/or membership priced system.

STAGGERED FEES

Staggered (or targeted) fees aren’t a hard and fast rule on all military courses. However, more often than not, many military courses will offer staggered fees targeted towards younger personnel, who by pay scale simply don’t make a lot of money. You will see from time to time some military courses that have gone away from this policy. Those courses typically will only offer a straight fee program where everyone pays the same – like you would see outside of the gates. Not surprisingly, the courses who implement a staggered fee approach tend to attract a larger percentage of younger golfers who can now afford to play.

FeeStructureHere’s a look at just one military golf course’s fee structure. This would be something typical you might find at many military courses worldwide. The ranks and divisions may not be familiar to most, but suffice to say, the lower the green fee, the lower the pay scale and vice versa.

With a model like this in place, detractors will say the lower ranking members enjoy the same course and the same amenities as those who pay a higher fee. True, but you are also growing a new generation of golfers. A new generation who will play more golf in their lifetimes simply because they can afford it. I am a good example of someone who was introduced to the game later in life, but could afford to play throughout my career based on staggered pricing. And some 28-years later, I’m still at it.

SIMPLE ECONOMICS

The idea is simple. Attract the targeted demographic of golfers who will be the game’s future through financial planning and concession. You not only infuse your customer base, but you also grow the game in the process. If you are a course owner, a golf management company, or a PGA pro, I believe you should consider a staggered fee plan for your upcoming season/s.

If you’re having trouble attracting a new generation of golfers or just trying to keep a loyal segment of golfers happy, I’m a big believer in developing a staggered fee or structured membership plan for your clientele. Of course, a staggered fee plan could apply to daily fees, yearly memberships, and/or loyalty programs as well.

The point is to offer the target group you are looking to grow as a customer, the best staggered/structured fee you can as a golf course or facility. #GROWTHEGAME

As an example, a course in my area offers a year-round membership for a specific price (let’s say $1,200). However, to try and grow their customer base, they offer a Junior Membership Plan (19 & below) for $500 and a 20-29 year-old Membership Plan for $800. Both plans offer discounted fees to play golf – and guess what, the course has enjoyed a major influx of 20-29 year-olds and has jumped it’s junior golf numbers as well. Coincidence? I think not.

Courses are all about specials, internet prices, and other loyalty programs, but in these times, money . . . specifically staggered green fees or memberships, may be part of the answer to solving the largest negative factor in growing our game – COST.

Why America fell out of love with golf (The Washington Post, 5 March 2015)

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BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/blogger/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. He is a retired U.S. Military Veteran and Ashford University Graduate living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

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