Hundreds of nominations from across the golf industry have been trimmed to three nominees in each category in the 22nd Annual ING Industry Honors awards program. Called by some the “Academy Awards of the golf industry,” the ING Industry Honors program is conducted by the non-profit International Network Of Golf to recognize outstanding achievement in the golf business.
Winners in a dozen categories is decided by a vote of the ING membership and announced at the Industry Honors Presentation Press Conference January 22, 2015, at 12:30 p.m. at the PGA Merchandise Show in ClubING, Room 309. LPGA legend Jan Stephenson will be the master of ceremonies.
The International Network Of Golf is a non-profit, media-based networking organization whose mission is to enhance and promote communication and education in golf. Membership is open to anyone in the golf industry, related industries and media. ING is where media and the golf industry connect.
Sub-committees in each category reviewed nominations that were taken from anyone in the golf industry, and by private vote trimmed the entries to the top three in each category. All nominees will be recognized at the presentation.
ING exists to bring golf media together with representatives from all walks of the golf industry to discuss issues, exchange information and improve communication. The group conducts the 25th Anniversary ING Spring Conference May 31-June 3 at the beautiful and renovated Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL. Educational seminars, product testing, an appointment show, the 25thAnniversary Reunion Dinner and networking opportunities highlight schedule.
The next gathering for ING is at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Jan. 21-23. ClubING (Room 309) will be open all day for members and their guests, with morning coffee, Happy Hour cocktail parties with celebrity guests, presentations and prizes.
For more information regarding ING, call 407-328-0500 or visit inggof.com.
2014 ING Industry Honors
Chip Brewer, President and CEO, Callaway Golf – Oliver “Chip” Brewer became chief executive officer at Callaway Golf in March 2012. Brewer had previously served as president and CEO of Adams Golf for 10 years. Brewer, a self-proclaimed “product geek”, rapidly transformed Callaway’s product line within months, making sweeping changes in engineering, manufacturing and quality control. With the return of the Big Bertha brand and other product innovations that quickly grew marketshare, Callaway’s turnaround is now well underway. In Oct 2014, the company reported for the first nine months of the year a 5% increase in net sales driven by growth in woods (+6%), irons (+9%), golf balls (+5%) and accessories and other (+3%). Under Brewer’s leadership, Callaway Golf estimates further increases in profitability in 2015.
Joe Gibbs and Arnold Palmer, Co-Founders, Golf Channel – The idea of a 24-hour golf network came from media entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama, who first thought of the concept in 1991. Gibbs felt there was enough interest in golf among the public to support such a network, and commissioned a Gallup Poll to see if his instincts were correct. Gibbs and legendary golfer Palmer then secured $80 million in financing to launch the network, which was among the first cable networks developed to cover one singular sport. The network was launched on January 17, 1995. Along with news and tournament coverage, Golf Channel developed its own original programming such as reality competition show, The Big Break, to help aspiring pros gain exemptions on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Currently owned by the NBC Sports Group, Golf Channel is available to 82 million pay television households. Golf Channel will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015.
Michael Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA Tour – Michael Whan assumed the leadership role at the LPGA in 2010 with goals of enhancing business relationships, growing the tournament schedule, maximizing fan experience, and increasing exposure for the entire membership. Five years later, his big picture thinking, strong marketing skills and bold risk-taking has pushed the LPGA to new heights on many levels. The tournament schedule has soared from 23 to 33 with innovative events like the “Founders Cup” and $1 million “Race to the CME Globe” points competition attached. Purses have jumped above $60 million with television ratings showing steady climb and coverage hours surpassing 400 for the first time. In addition, the developmental Symetra Tour has added six events and increased prize money by 53 percent. Now embracing “all things global,” the LPGA caters to fans in 225 countries via the website and boasts television partners in 175 countries.
Bionic Golf Gloves “PGA Championship Media Event” – Nearly 200 media members covering the 96th PGA Championship were invited to Bionic Gloves’ HQs in Louisville to be fitted for the new Stable Grip glove before it hit the market. They tested the glove while having their swings tracked by Zepp Sensors and evaluated by a swing coach. Guests toured Louisville Slugger’s Museum & Factory, and received a Louisville Slugger baseball bat with their own signature. Over $300,000 in editorial coverage to date.
Callaway “Big Big Bertha Payday” – Golfers who demo’d the brand’s Big Bertha drivers or fairway woods at retailers before the final round of the 2014 U.S. Open were entered into a drawing. The winner received a lump sum payment of the exact amount of money Phil Mickelson, who endorses Callaway, won at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst. Over 50,000 golfers took part, and a paycheck of $59,588 went to the winner.
TaylorMade Golf’ “Distance for All” campaign – It was just another spring morning at Bethpage Golf Course – local golfers warming up and congregating at the driving range. Then Sergio Garcia showed up with the TaylorMade Golf demo truck and the fun began. All the stunned golfers on the range were fitted for a SLDR Driver, with Sergio offering swing tips. Then the crowd gathered at the first tee to watch each group tee off, with Sergio on hand to offer encouragement.
The Legends Tour – The “Official Senior Tour of the LPGA” in its 14th season showcases the talents of some of the greatest women golfers of all time. The Legends Tour has over 120 members including 13 World Golf and LPGA Hall of Fame members who have compiled over 750 LPGA victories and 86 major championships. The Tour has played for over $12,000,00 in prize money, and $15,000,000 has been awarded to charity through Legends Tour events. The tour is administered by founder and CEO Jane Blalock’s golf event management company.
Wegmans LPGA Championship – For 38 consecutive years, a very popular LPGA tournament stop has been Rochester, NY. It was often referred to as the “5th Major” amongst the players. In 2009, the regular tour event was replaced by the LPGA Major Championship and Wegmans became the title sponsor. Over the years this partnership between Wegmans, the Rochester golf community and the LPGA has generated over $10M to support community charities and the Graduation is the Goal Fund.
World Golfers Championship – After dedicating his life playing for his country, four-time Swedish Hockey Olympian Sven Tumba wanted to create the Olympic experience for the average person, regardless of age, gender, or skill level. The Championship has grown from 11 countries in 1994 to 44 this year, including the USA, where Anders Bengston owns the rights. Countries qualify amateur golfers in five separate handicapped flights to compete for the opportunity to represent their country and compete against others from around the World.
PRODUCT INGENUITY-Emerging Companies
Alphard Golf Duo Cart DX is an all-in-one pushcart and golf bag combination that fits easily in the trunk of your car, and takes just seconds to set up. The Duo Cart features 4 large wheels that provide outstanding stability on even the toughest terrain. It has a plethora of storage pockets and a built-in Cooler Pocket that can store up to six drinks. The wheels can be removed from the anodized aluminum frame in just seconds and converted into a cart bag.
GAME GOLF, the first wearable device that automatically tracks and graphically displays a golfer’s round. Players can view their rounds, get all their statistics automatically generated, create/join challenges, and share their game experiences via social channels. GAME GOLF has partnerships with Golf Channel and PGA of America and is “Permitted under The Rules of Golf” by the USGA and the R&A. The product is used in 75 countries with 35,000 worldwide golf courses mapped.
OnCore Golf’s MA-1.0 is a revolutionary high performance golf ball that incorporates a hollow steel core to create true perimeter weighting, reduced side-spin, increased rifle spin and high back spin making it straighter, longer and the most accurate USGA conforming ball in golf, says the company. OnCore was able to convince the USGA to make an exception to the “traditional and customary” rule language governing golf ball construction for only the second time since 1921.
PRODUCT INGENUITY-Market Leaders
Bridgestone True Balance Putter – The proprietary True Balance design moves the weight into the head of the putter, keeping the club’s balance point within 5 inches of its sole, to provide greater feel. The result is simple. When you can feel the head, you can control the head and that means you can make more putts. Dual Layer Grooved Insert provides the perfect combination of feel and roll performance Unique Lightweight 100% EVA grips provide comfort, feel, and traction (available in standard and oversize).
SuperStroke Putting Grips – These oversize putter grips with patented parallel shape allow for even grip pressure in the wrist and forearms. This eliminates unnecessary wrist action and produces a more consistent stroke. More than 125 tour players currently use SuperStroke. The 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth, played SuperStroke’s Flatso Ultra and ranked in the Top 3 of several PGA Tour putting categories in 2014. FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel won the BMW Championship and Tour Championship playing SuperStroke’s Flatso Ultra.
Tour Edge Exotics CB PRO Fairway Woods – The unique Slip Stream sole, resembling ribbons or waves, visually captured the fairway wood market. Setting new standards for performance, the groundbreaking design captured attention – and a victory – on the PGA Tour. The Slip Stream sole glides through turf dramatically minimizing contact for maximum speed through impact and paired with Exotics manufacturing technology, makes the CB PRO fairway wood a great example of ingenuity at its finest.
GOLF COURSE DESIGN
NOTAH BEGAY III & TY BUTLER for Swailo Golf Club, Tucson, Arizona
Built by the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council, Sewailo Golf Club is carved from flat desert, with deep dips, high hills, tumbling waterscapes, re-circulating streams and opulent floral displays. They hired fellow Native American, Notah Begay, a Navajo and Pueblo, PGA Tour Champion, Golf Channel and NBC commentator, and golf course designer, to help carve the course from the high Sonoran Desert just south of the resort. Sewailo, meaning “flower world” in the Pascua Yaqui language, blends the native landscape with picturesque lakes and streams.
TOM DOAK for Dismal River – Red Course, Mullen Nebraska
Doak’s first course in the Nebraska Sandhills, 23,000 square miles of natural dunes and prairie vegetation, and what Ben Crenshaw once called “the Promised Land” for golf course architects. The Red Course features fairways playing atop plateaus between gulches and much of the back nine along a valley formed by the narrow, serpentine, artesian-fed Dismal River. The finish is particularly strong including the 420-yard 18th with two sets of tees offering different perspectives and a promontory green by the river that Doak calls “one of the best finishing holes I’ll ever get to build.”
DAVID KIDD for Gamble Sands, Brewster, Washington
Situated on a sandy plateau high above the Columbia River, in North Central Washington, Gamble Sands is an authentic Links course with traditional fine fescue grasses, wide fairways, massive greens ranging from 6,200 up to 16,200 square feet, and menacing bunkers covering 16 acres. Kidd designed Gamble Sands to be visually stunning, yet not intimidating. The fairways are huge ensuring the average player will have fun while three drivable par 4s will entice the better player. Gamble Sands is easy to walk and there are no homes, no roads, and no cart paths.
PRINT ADVERTISING – Travel & Real Estate
Casa De Campo – “This Course Chooses Its Golfers”
Edgewood Tahoe – “Authentic. Relaxed. Inspiring.”
The Broadmoor – “Welcome To 3,000 Magnificent Acres”
PRINT ADVERTISING – Products & Services
Cobra Bio Cell – “Meet Your Match”
Trojan Battery Company – “No Boundaries”
Winn Pro X – “Marks The Spot”
Drive, Chip and Putt Championship – A joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America, the program is a free nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on golf’s three fundamental skills. Participants who advance through qualifying in each age/gender category earn a place in the National Finals, which is broadcast live by Golf Channel at Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters Tournament.
Freedom Golf Association – Based in Chicago and founded in 2012, FGA is a non-profit association that delivers grassroots golf instruction to those with special needs. In 2014, FGA provided instruction to 680 participants. FGA works with kids, adults and wounded veterans with the goal of taking a person from the practice tee to the first tee. FGA’s mission is to bring joy and a sense of freedom to special needs individuals through their inclusion in golf.
PGA Junior League Golf – This program allows boys and girls ages 13 and under the opportunity to learn and play golf in a fun, social team environment similar to other youth recreational sports. It features team vs. team competitions in structured leagues that utilize a less stressful scramble format, as opposed to stroke-play competition. The PGA of America and League Golf, LLC, partnered to launch PGA Junior League Golf as a pilot program in 2011 with teams competing in four select markets. In 2013, PGA Jr. League Golf saw nearly 9,000 participants on 740 teams across North America.
TV ADVERTISING – Individual Commercial
Aflac – “Bad Golfer”
PGATour.Com – “Off The Chain, With Ian Poulter”
TaylorMade SLDR – “Power In Numbers”
TV ADVERTISING – Commercial Series
Bridgestone Golf – “Made In America”
FedEX Cup – “These Guys Are Good”
LPGA – “See Why It’s Different Out Here”
Golf Coast Magazine – Augmented Reality Feature – This new technology enables an advertiser to visually and virtually speak to your customers. It drives more business through the combination of print and your smart phone. Download the app, hover it over the ad and you see videos of golf tips, flyovers of golf courses, coupon offers, links to Facebook, YouTube channels, websites, tee time reservations, even add a button to call the pro shop. The options are unlimited. With the explosion of mobile phone usage, it gives the client the ability to change their message and offers during the shelf life of the publication.
GolfPulp Media – Levelhead Ball Marker Launch Campaign – Generated 12,598 targeted visits; captured a 14.27% sales conversion rate; grew opt-in subscriptions to 3,461 in 90 days. How? GolfPulp streamlined the purchase process by providing succinct product information in an easy to understand format. Improved graphics, product value proposition and overall marketing messaging to generate online sales conversions. Email marketing effort delivered sales with an average of 25% open rate. GolfPup used Facebook to drive referral traffic and database subscription through a network of social media landing pages and website forms.
GolfWeek.com – Under Armour Campaign – Golfweek created a digital program that helped Under Armour target its messaging to junior golfers, focused on the Majors, and helped generate a database with a sweepstakes where readers could guess a UA athlete’s outfit the first round of the major tied in with a major retail partner of theirs’, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a consistent presence on he site against the total audience.
Michael W. Jamison
407-328-0500, ext. 1