Tag Archives: PGA Tour

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19th Hole Media: Q & A With iliac golf founder Bert LaMar

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Editor’s Note: This post was written for Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club’s blog to introduce iliac golf to their golf shop. Photos are courtesy of iliac golf.

Arroyo Trabuco is excited to announce the addition of iliac Golf to its pro shop line up! Iliac is a luxury lifestyle brand that has existed only online and the exclusive clubs (Pine Valley, Royal Portrush, etc.) since its founding in 2005 but has established a loyal and sizeable following.

Founder Bart LaMar says he is now bringing the brand public at a select number of Southern California courses, including Arroyo Trabuco, to better serve his existing customers and grow the exposure to the product.

“I feel like I owe it to my customers,” said LaMar, who’s based in Carlsbad. “We have a big customer base on the web site (www.iliacgolf.com), but they don’t have a place to go and try it on, unless you can get into a Pine Valley.

“So I think it’s really important to put it in a few places, but I’m putting it in places where I can still be really hands-on. I want people to discover the quality and the brand.”

The Iliac line started with a specialty in premium leather head covers and uniquely styled shirts – you’ve likely seen one on the back of PGA Tour pro Jimmy Walker – and is now a full-scale lifestyle brand (shoes, pants, belts, etc.).

Arroyo Trabuco Head Golf Professional Michael Block said the brand is a natural fit for Arroyo.

“It was a no-brainer for us to work with Bert and iliac because their style fits so well with our culture at the club,” Block said. “To be able to offer the iliac brand in our golf shop is just one more way that we can set ourselves apart, not only from other golf clubs, but even local clothing stores.

“It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to offer that label at Arroyo Trabuco.”

In this Q & A, LaMar shares the story of the founding and growth of the iliac brand, educates you about its merchandise and apparel and discusses the launch at Arroyo.

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Q. You had previous successful ventures in skateboarding and snowboarding. Why the move to golf?

A. I’m a golfer and tried to turn pro for a few years, but didn’t make much money at it. I fell in love with the vintage classic style of the sport and wanted to do something that honored golf’s rich tradition. Everything iliac is rich in tradition.

I started by making luxury leather head covers and shirts and basically pioneered the head cover category.

Q. Zach Johnson and others have donned the brand on the PGA Tour. What do you think the appeal is to Tour pros?

A. I think us being fashion-forward inspires a lot of these guys and the flavor of it. It’s different. I don’t make khaki pants and striped shirts.

There’s also a higher level of support, design and service that you don’t get from the biggest companies.

Q. Jimmy Walker is one of the current Tour pros to have worn your apparel. How did that relationship come about?

A. He was ranked around No. 100 in the world at the time and nobody really knew him about and he dressed like everyone else. Our clothing was a big step for him. He started with blacks and solids and was getting a lot of compliments.

His game started to ascend at the same time, and I really think there’s a connection between looking good and playing well.

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Q. What’s the best benefit you and the brand get from your clothing and apparel being on Tour?

A. From shirts to pants to belts to shoes, I’m always kind of inventing things out of Tour necessity. I’ve sometimes solved a problem they didn’t even know they had. That’s designing from the highest level. The Tour is where a lot of my ideas come from.

Q. How does that process and the appeal of wear Tour-quality apparel trickle down to the amateur player?

A. This is Tour-level high fashion but also the technical performance of the product carries over to the amateur. We’re for people who are serious about their game and serious about their apparel. There’s also a learning curve with the product because it’s different than anything else out there.

But once people become an iliacker, they’re usually and iliacker for life.

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Q. You didn’t make the brand public until just the year. What do you hope the biggest benefit will be?

A. Our brand was under the radar for a long time. We didn’t even have the name iliac on our gear until two years ago. We just had a red crest.

We were promoted mostly by word of mouth. But to me, it’s like a good restaurant. If it’s good, people will tell people.

We’re vintage, but we’re also very fashion-forward.

But we want to bring golf’s classic style to today’s golfer.

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19th Hole Media: 10 Prime Sources Of Golf Course Social Media Content

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For decades, if not longer now, the indispensable and universal marketing tool of golf has been the flyer. Holding a tournament? Make a flyer? A membership special? Make a flyer? Pro shop holiday sale? Make a flyer.

I now see that mentality transferred into the social media accounts of many golf courses, particularly country clubs. Frankly, 10 years or so now into the rise of smart phones and social media, that strategy is as dated as hickory sticks. Flyers are black and white television in an HDTV world.

The information these materials convey is still essential, but you need to re-consider your presentation. What matters most in social media is visual appeal – and flyers are a triple bogey on that front. And they are flagged as advertising on Facebook, which makes those posts unboostable – and boosting is increasingly critical to social media reach.

So where else would we get visual content, you ask. Well, it’s actually all around you. Here are 10 sources of content at your course that you should be incorporating into your social media.

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The Course – This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many accounts I see where the course seems to be a rumor. Your course is your best friend when it comes to social media. It’s the visual cue that evokes the emotional response you want from your golfers, which is to come play golf. You should be showcasing it weekly, if not daily, to drive rounds and branding of your course.

If you don’t have a marketing budget that provides for professional photos, here’s the good news: Smart phone photos will totally suffice. Point your phone at your course often, including the wildlife and landscape (flowers, waterfalls, etc.). You’re looking to paint a visual picture that captures the ENTIRE experience at your course. And recruit your staff. Who knows? There may be a budding nature photographer amongst them.

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The Driving Range – Whether your range is beautiful or bland, it’s still where practice and teaching take place. Social media is a GREAT place to teach the game and promote instruction. Lesson videos are the best content, but simple forms will still convey the message, but lesson videos are worth the time and effort. And if they’re not great at first? Practice!!! It’s the range! Your golfers will reward your attempts to educate.

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The Golf Shop –
This is where the low-hanging fruit of social media lives. Courses are constantly swapping out their golf shop inventory. Are you sharing your changes with your audience and enticing them with sales and visuals of new merchandise? If not, why not? You have no excuse not to, especially when professional promotional images by vendors are readily available. FYI: Promoting your rental clubs, which I rarely see anyone do, also falls under this category.

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The Kitchen – Food has a HUGE audience on social media, far larger than golf. Let what comes out of your kitchen entice diners AND golfers to your facility by taking food photos. This is the best way to get non-golfers to your property and foster a loyal dining following. And this is the department most prone to the flyer. But instead of that bunch flyer, how about this? Show the food! There’s a reason food photos complement restaurant menus – diners want to see the food!

The next time you cook or dine at your club, take a second and snap a pic! When you share, you’re encouraging your diners to come join you do the same!

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Wedding Photographers – This could go much higher on this list, considering that weddings are the second biggest source of revenue for many courses, but this is secondary source of content so we’ll leave it here. Wedding photogs create some of the most beautiful, and often most progressive, content in the business. If you’re not gathering galleries taken at your course, you’re hugely missing out on a valuable trove of content.

One reason is the look, but the second is the cost: Free. The couple has paid for the service. Simply acknowledging the source usually satisfies most photographers and double as branding for them for additional business.

Wedding photos taken on the course are the best of both worlds because the course and couple always look great. Capture this content and spin it forward to recruit future brides.

Your Golfers – Social media is a two-way street. If you’ve got a healthy relationship with your followers, they are sharing at a rate equal to or exceeding what you’re sending. And sometimes what they create and share is really good. Never before have I shared so much user-generated content as in 2017 (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

By re-posting this content you are doing two things: You are celebrating your golfers and encouraging other golfers to do the same. That’s called a social media win-win. Be active and your golfers likely will be too.

Your Web Site – Just like the course photos this is another obvious one that isn’t so obvious. At a bare minimum, you should be promoting your online booking engine, but anything you’ve deemed worthy of your web site is worthy of your social media. You’ve already declared your marketing intentions by creating one. Capitalize on that investment by promoting it on social media.

Outside Reviews – Be it by an outside professional reviewer or one of your patrons, positive reviews are fodder for promotion. You especially want to seize on any unique critiques of your course. Share them or partially quote them to encourage and promote future play.

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The Tour – The PGA Tour is the No. 1 promotional vehicle for golf. Share photos and encourage talk about the Tour, especially during the majors, to engage that sector of your audience. Since the Tour never stops, this can be an especially valuable source to courses who don’t have a year-round golf season. Use the tour to talk about equipment trends, the game, etc. and remain engage with your audience during the off season.

Third-Party Content – You could probably make a case that the prior two categories could go under this tab, but I’m going to break it out on its own to expand on the point. There’s a wealth of golf content on the Internet that you can re-purpose for your purpose, such as lesson pieces if you don’t have the capacity to produce them on your own. The ultimate goal of social media is provide value and value is where you find it. How valuable are you being to your audience?

So those are 10 types of content readily available to your course. How many are you using? Let 19th Hole Media help you discover your content possibilities by contacting me (corey.ross@yahoo.com) or Zeb (Zeb@zebwelbornmedia.com) for a free consultation.

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2017 Masters Preview

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Photo: www.techagesite.com

The golf world entered last year’s Masters buzzing about the looming rise of a youthful Big Four. A year later, there’s mostly only talk of an emerging Big One – and it isn’t that guy.

DJ, not TW, is turning into the Tour Goliath that his tremendous talent suggested possible but hadn’t been realized. His breakthrough win at the 2016 U.S. Open appears to have changed all that.

After being named Player of the Year in 2016, DJ has only built on that momentum by rising to world No. 1 and flattening the field on the way to three straight victories coming into Augusta.

Will DJ continue his Tour dominance with a win at Augusta National, a place where he doesn’t have a great track record? Or will players with a better history and feel for the place (Spieth, Mickelson, etc.) stem the tide and deny him the green jacket?

The question: Can DJ’s greatly improved short game and putting stand up to the staunch test at Augusta?

We ponder that and four other storylines coming into what many regard as the best week in golf. Here’s a look at our top five.

Will DJ continue to dominate? – His nearly unrivaled length has always made him a fearsome force on the Tour, but it’s his newfound touch on and around the greens that has changed his game and has him lifting more trophies.

DJ finished a very quiet T-4 last year, which is best finish at Augusta and followed a T-6 in 2016. If he’s stealthily been stalking the jacket, then the new DJ might be ready.

The Golf Channel shared a story about all the work Johnson has put in honing his game inside the scoring zone (125 yards and in) in the past year, and his second major and a fourth straight victory will likely be riding on it. But most critical, will his recently steady putting touch stand up to the test of the slick Augusta greens?

Will Jordan rebound? – We would likely be talking about a two-time defending champion going for a third straight green jacket had Jordan Spieth not gotten two consecutive tee shots wet on the par-3 12th a year ago. That turned what looked to be a runaway into an open door for underdog Danny Willett to sneak in and claim the championship.

Spieth claims not to be haunted by No. 12, having returned to Augusta last Dec. and played the hole without issue. Still, you can be sure the replays of his meltdown will roll when Jordan steps to the 12 tee on Thursday.

Spieth seemed to burn out a bit a year ago after playing a hectic schedule. He’s dialed that back this year and seems to have rediscovered much of the form that had him chasing the Grand Slam two years ago.

We know Spieth can putt the notorious greens of Augusta, but will his ball striking hold up under what are expected to be challenging conditions on Thurs. and Fri.? But if Spieth gets into the weekend around the lead, it’ll be hard not like his chances. With a T2, 1, T2 history at Augusta, would you bet against him?

He’ll certainly be seeking redemption on No. 12 and savoring another chance to win back the green jacket.

Is Rory ready to go Grand? – The Masters is the only gap in Rory’s major resume. Is this the year he completes the career Grand Slam? He seems to have found his form again after being briefly sidelined with a rib injury.

As one of the few on Tour who can challenge DJ off the tee, that’d be a power pairing if it happened on the weekend. Is Rory ready to end his major drought? It’d certainly put some juice into the Augusta gallery if he’s contending going into Sunday.

Can Lefty be right one more time? – Though he’s played some of the most consistent golf of his career and been around the lead often (see the British last year), Phil hasn’t won since he won the British in 2013. Can he pull out one more major surprise with that famous Augusta-friendly short game?

If he’s steady off the tee, the decider for Phil will likely be that claw putting grip he remains committed to. Can he roll it for four rounds again like he did at the British last year? If so, look out for Lefty.

Will it be a favorite or will it be someone like Willett? – More than the course, the weather may be the wildcard to answering this question.

With windy and possible wet weather on tap for the first two days, it could open the door for some underdogs to secure some previous landscape near the top of the weekend leaderboard.

The forecasted cool conditions are being likened to 2007, when Zach Johnson used some clutch and calculated wedge play to surgically conquer Augusta National and the field. Will a similar approach prevail this year?

The Tour saw four first-timers last year claim all the majors a year ago. Will that trend continue or will a favorite emerge victorious? We’ll soon find out during one of the best weeks in golf.

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Maderas: Maderas’ 2016 Farmers Insurance Open Preview W/Chris Mayson Pick and Predictions

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When the PGA Tour arrived at Torrey Pines a year ago, it was a Tour in transition. A year later, there’s raging debate about whether golf is being led by a Big Three or a full-fledged foursome.

Two of the players in golf’s most prestige pack – Rickie Fowler and Jason Day – are in the Farmers Insurance Open Field this week. Fowler is fresh off a win in Abu Dhabi over major winners Jordan Spieth and Rory McIroy. Day is the defending champion at Torrey, but reportedly battling the flu.

This is set to be Day’s 2016 Tour debut and first chance to make a statement against his peers. He ended the 2015 major season by capturing the title at the PGA Championship by shooting 25-under to set a major championship scoring record. He briefly thereafter vaulted to No. 1 in the world.

Day’s win a year ago at Torrey started to set the Tour on a new course during a week that began with Tiger Woods withdrawing with a back injury. This week Day and Fowler have a chance to contribute to golf’s great debate. Will they deliver? We’ll start finding out on Thurs.

http://www.maderasgolf.com/The-Maderas-2016-Farmers-Insura.blog

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August 2014 Southland Golf

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Shop Ashworth apparel, footwear and accessories

www.southlandgolfmagazine.com

A guide to my stories in the digital mag at top right. Sorry for the redirect, but direct links haven’t been working.

A Flying Start: A look at the PGA Tour Grill in the SD Airport, page 12

Names in the Game: Guan Tianlang. Catch up with the Chinese phenom from Masters lore, page 14

A New SKLZ Set: A look at how an elite athlete training company trains golfers, page 30

Shop SKLZ Golf – Game Improvement Tools to Improve Distance, Accuracy, Putting and Fitness

MARCH 2014 SOUTHLAND GOLF

A Pro At Work: We’re Talking About Practice

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Billy Horschel walks with his caddie during his Tuesday practice round at Torrey

On a day when the clouds refused to yield at Torrey Pines, Billy Horschel’s white golf ball dropped out of a gray sky and nearly into the cup on the South Course’s par-3 8th hole Tuesday.

Horschel’s tee shot to the front-right pin location caught a slope in the middle of the green and nestled back to within mere inches of an ace. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it might’ve been an ESPN highlight. Today? As Allen Iverson famously once said, “This was practice, man.  We’re talking about practice.”

His reward for near perfection after he walked to the green? He got to pick the ball up and go to work. A ball had been dropped in each bunker by his caddie and two more were hiding in the lush greenside rough, buried deeply like eggs left by an evil Easter Bunny.

Five balls in all and Horschel’s job was to drop each within 6 feet of the tournament’s four locations, three indicated by wooden pegs in the green.

Horschel worked through the shots, the toughest being a ball in the back bunker to a back pin, a tight shot to execute with about 5 feet of green to the hole.

Horschel’s sand shot floated out softly but didn’t land within the desired distance. Do it again, his caddy, Micah Fugitt, directed him.

“Oh, man, that was perfect,” Horschel said in a bit of mock protest. And then he hit another one that passed the test.

Hole after hole, this is how Horschel’s practice round went until he walked off the 18th green at about 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

This was a PGA Tour pro at work on tournament week.

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Horschel hits bunker shots to multiple pin locations

If you follow the PGA Tour, you might remember Horschel for the octopus pants he wore for a round at the U.S. Open.

Locally, you’re possibly more likely to recall that he was in the final group of last year’s Farmers Insurance Open. Playing alongside eventual, and seemingly perpetual at Torrey, tournament champion Tiger Woods, Horschel couldn’t follow up his strong start and finished T-39.

Horschel, dressed in a pink shirt, white PING hat and white pats, was working hard Tuesday to prepare himself to better last year’s finish at a tournament that was his breakout a year ago.

“I still have good vibes about the place, for sure,” Horschel said. “There’s a learning curve out here and that was a learning experience.

“I’m looking forward to playing well the first two days and then playing better the last two days.”

To better his best finish at Torrey, Horschel spent his practice time Tuesday with a heavy emphasis on the short game, but with no neglect of anything.

His overall game certainly seemed sharp. He followed his near ace on No. 8 by bouncing his pitch shot into the pin on the par-5 No. 9 for a near eagle. The reward? Two more pitches to alternative pin locations and more work on the green – by Billy and his caddie.

While Horschel worked, Fugitt hand-rolled multiple balls to one peg and studied the break.

Two holes later, Fugitt switched to being videographer. On the long par-3 11th, as Horschel teed off with an iron, Fugitt stood behind him taking video with a cell phone camera. Horschel’s shot came up short right of the front pin location.

Horschel studied the video for about 45 seconds and re-teed. Similar result.

“Too high,” Horschel self-analyzed as he walked off the tee.

At the green, the short-game game began all over again with him hitting chips, bunker shots and putts to various locations.

After watching a putt to a back pin location veer wide, Horschel asked his caddie, “Didn’t I three-putt here last year?”

His caddie confirmed and Horschel dropped more balls.

On 12, the tough par-4 played toward the ocean, Horschel spent more time testing the Torrey rough, which was ankle-deep and thick. After Horschel’s club hit the rough with a grassy thud his swings produced divots the size of small house plants.

Trying to hit a flop from a particularly tough patch, Horschel’s flop flailed meekly and promptly returned to the rough prompting him to self-scold, “Geez, Billy.”

He hit four or five more from that spot.

The desired short-game goal always seemed to be six feet, but Horschel wouldn’t be that specific when asked later.

“The closer you get to the hole, the better your chance on the putt,” he said. “If you average getting it within 6 feet on your short-game shots, you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting up and down.

“Everyone has their way of practice and mine is to spend more time on my short game. It’s just a little game we play.”

On 13, a par-5 played with two split tee boxes, Horschel found the middle of the fairway with his drive and then tried to get home in two to a green fronted by tiered bunkers.

His first attempt slammed into the wall of the front left bunker; his next did the same on the right.

After taking a minute to recalibrate, Horschel fired a 3-wood that cleared easily and bounded onto the green.

“That was a solid,” Horschel said while handing his club to Fugitt. It was the closest he came to an audible self-compliment all day.

After he walked off the 18th green, I asked about his practice routine and the amount of time, especially, he spent playing out of the rough.

“The rough is thick. You know you’re going to miss some greens, unfortunately, so I needed to find out how the ball was going to react. Getting up-and-down can save you a lot of shots,” he said.

Starting Thursday, we’ll find out if Horschel’s practice saves him enough.

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JANUARY 2014 SOUTHLAND GOLF

Update: Arrowood recorded its first hole-in-one on Just One on Jan. 6, earning the winner $2,000.