Golf Central Mag- Vol 25 Issue 1

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An architectural marvel inspired by the West Indies is this year’s Plantation Bay, Parade of Homes Showcase Home

April 20th - April 28th

1009 Sudbury Lane, Ormond Beach, FL 32174

Nestled in the heart of Plantation Bay, a community that intertwines modern luxury with the serene Floridian landscape, stands the Monaco, an estate home that has become the talk of the town as the 2024 Showcase Home in the Parade of Homes.

The Courtyard to Luxury

From the moment you approach the Monaco, it’s clear that this isn’t just a residence, but a statement of elegance and architectural prowess. The dual twocar garages frame a courtyard that leads to an impressive steel and glass pivoting door, promising grandeur beyond imagination. And indeed, the interior does not disappoint.

A Symphony of Space and Style

The single-story estate boasts over 3,800 square feet of meticulously crafted space, including four bedrooms and four bathrooms. As a news journalist,

Parade of Homes
Where the good life comes to play.

I’ve seen my share of luxury homes, but the Monaco is something else. It doesn’t just host features; it curates experiences. The floorplan is a masterclass in design, where each step introduces you to a new facet of its character.

Epicurean Delights

The formal dining room, a spectacle with its glass-lined wine cellar and butler’s pantry, is not just for meals but for moments that linger in memories. The gourmet kitchen, with its walk-in pantry, oversized island, and state-of-the-art wine cooler, speaks to the heart of home entertaining.

A Sanctuary of Splendor

The grandeur ascends in the main living area, where cathedral ceilings adorned with stained wood beams rise above. Quadruple pocketed sliding glass doors erase the lines between indoor and outdoor living, leading to a covered lanai that is more a sanctuary than a patio. Here, against the backdrop of Plantation Bay’s golf course, one can entertain, unwind, or simply bask in the opulence of the full summer kitchen, pool, and spa.

The Essence of Retreat

The master suite is a hymn to luxury. The zero-entry shower and stand-alone porcelain tub in the master bath echo the indulgence of a high-end spa. A connected exercise room, his and hers closets, and a fashionista’s dream closet with ample shoe storage and lit countertops ensure that elegance and organization go hand in hand.

Lifestyle Meets Luxury

Living in Plantation Bay is about more than just a home; it’s about a lifestyle that caters to leisure and luxury. With facilities like the Founders Club and the Prestwick Clubhouse, along with a 7,000 square-foot Spa and Fitness Center, life here is an endless vacation. The community offers lighted Har-Tru tennis courts, pickleball courts, and walking and biking paths. The two and a half championship golf courses are a golfer’s paradise, and with optional memberships, you choose the amenities that suit your life.

As the Monaco stands as the 2024 Showcase Home, it not only sets a standard for architectural beauty but also for the lifestyle that comes with living in such an esteemed community.

Volusia Residential Construction, LLC 2379 Beville Rd., Daytona Beach, FL 32119 CBC#1262114 Visit to see our Move-In Ready Homes & Communities
Priced from the $400s - $4 million. Call today to schedule a
appointment! (844) 325-1658

After a round of golf, paddle through the peaceful Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park or unwind on the beach at Anclote Key Preserve State Park to experience the serenity of Mother Nature.

Tee up along Florida’s Sports Coast to discover the best golf excursions. With a wide variety of courses, every round of golf here is both challenging and enjoyable. a

H I T T H E L I N K S ! N A T U R A L L Y F L O R I D A
flsportscoast com

In the movie “Funny Girl”, which could be the story of my life based on the title alone, Barbra Streisand sings the song, “People”. It starts out “People. People who need people. Are the luckiest people in the world” I have been so lucky over the years to have people who have made a huge difference in my life both personally and professionally. Golf Central wouldn’t be a success without those people you see on the masthead as well as so many others that you don’t see. I’d love to name names but I’m afraid I would miss someone who was there for me, the list is just too long. In twenty-five years there have been so many supportive people in my life, yet our consistent advertisers are unquestionably the glue.

Most of the relationships I have had are more than just business relationships as well. These people have become an integral part of my life, and I am shown the love of theirs. Champagne has helped get me through several editions as well but…SSSHHH.

I am often reminded that sometimes success is better measured in smiles received, giggles heard, and hands held than in dollars earned, deadlines met, and pounds shed. There hasn’t been an edition we have put out that hasn’t had smiles and giggles to accompany the deadlines and dollars making it less of a job and more of a round of golf- smiles and giggles and the occasional ^&*%#$#!!. .  Like anything in life we've had our share of stresses, personal losses, 911, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Market Crash, but in the end what we thought were major obstacles really were not. Lastly, I thank you, the readers, who have made a difference with your feedback that is (almost) always good to get, sometimes I pay attention.

We’ve done well for ourselves.

Yeah us!

Central Magazine is published monthly by: Sand Hill Publishing & Public Relations 4313 Berwick Dr, Lake Wales, FL 33859 NEW PHONE: 863.875.6863


6 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 from the publisher Publisher: Terrie L. Purdum ( Editor in Chief: Shannon Coates ( Graphic Design: Melahn Cable Social Media Manager: Nafanua Marlowe Social Media Consultant & Editorial Contributor: Kennedy Lee Editorial Marketing Writer & Multimedia Content Creator: Joseph Harmon Golf The Wise Way: Greg and Beverly Wise, Photojournalists Photojournalist: Greg Corbo Photographers: Lynn Pelham, Brion Price, Peter Hakansson, Tres Fenton, Mike Coonan, Becky Galloway, Madison Coates, Mac Carraway Senior Correspondent: Rick Harris, Sr. Contributing Writers: Jay Golden, PGA; Bob Bolton, Greg Corbo, Elisa Gaudet, Holly Geoghegan, Mike Jamison, Mike May, Anthony Williams, Tres Fenton, Ronald Malone Editor Emeritus: Joel Jackson, CGCS Retired Regional Partner: Doug Hollandsworth, Founder-Georgia Golf Trail Turf Pirate: Anthony Williams Video Visionary: Amy Fox Oversight Officer/Uber Driver: Rocky Miller Media Partners: DSP Media; John Gerber, JP Peterson, Nick Geddes, Holly Geoghegan, Golf Insiders, GMS; Tony Leodora, Traveling Golfer Golf
reprinted without the prior written permission of the Publisher. Editorial contributions are welcome, but Golf Central Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited proposals, manuscripts and photographs. All materials submitted not accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope will not be returned. Mailing, electronic mailing or faxing of contributions constitutes an expressed warrant on the part of the contributor that all material is original and does not infringe on the rights of others. Golf Central Magazine retains all reprint rights and reserves the right to edit any submitted material to meet our specifications for publishing and or use in advertising or promotion. The Publisher and staff are not responsible for any loss or grievance by any person or persons whatsoever, due in any way or in part to the content of this publication. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse to accept any material deemed inappropriate or in bad taste. 2009 North Florida PGA Amateur of the Year
©2024 Golf Central Magazine. No portion of this publication may be
25 Years! Tons of Laughter and a Few Tears
Cart Girl 22 Wilmarie Perez Fashion Forward 12 Tilley FEATURE 10 Paragon Casino & Resort Golf Bachelorette 16 Emilie Bertram Golf Business 38 GolfForever Improving Performance 18 2THUMB International Golf Travel 32 Malaysia Turf Life 48 Blue Delta Jeans 50 Hideaway Beach Club 52 GCSAA Rounds4Research 54 Turf Pirate 56 PTI Golf Construction 58 Latitude Bermuda What's New 14 Eagle’s Edge at Omni ChampionsGate Young Guns 36 Ali Mulhall Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 Departments 24 PGATour 26 Competitive Spirits 32 Georgia Golf Trail 30 Grip It & Sip It 34 Product Showcase 40 Golf Central Station 42 FSGA 44 KYPGA 45 GAPGA 46 SFPGA 47 NFPGA Feature Article Pg 10 CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF TURF, TRAVEL, PHILANTHROPY & LIFESTYLE 8 Volume 25, Issue 1 14 26 36

If You’re On A Collision Course With Boredom, It’s Time To Change Course. To This One For Example.

Too much work and not enough play often leads to boredom. But too much play on the same golf courses can also take you there.

Whatever the cause, Fairfield Glade has the cure and the courses.We’re an easy drive from anywhere in the Southeast. With 5 dramatic and demanding courses, among Tennessee’s best, according to Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine, you won’t be bored anytime soon.

In addition to our five Championship Golf Courses, we offer miles of hiking trails, pristine lakes for boating and fishing, a world class Racquet Center for pickleball and tennis. Along with stables for horseback riding and hayrides. Stay & Play packages are available. Call and book your stay. Then bye bye boredom. It’s simply a matter of course.

Now the fun begins.

For information or reservations, call 888-334-5233


Paragon Casino Resort is home to Central Louisiana’s premier golf destination Tamahka Trails Golf Course. Named for the indigenous reptile that is often seen on the fairways, “Tamahka” is the Tunica-Biloxi tribal word for alligator, the tribe being the parent organization to Tamahka Trails and Paragon Casino Resort.

Tamahka Trails Golf Club

meanders through a beautiful 230-acre tract of rolling terrain featuring winding creeks, majestic century-old trees, along with native wildlife providing a sense of seclusion and harmony with nature.  The course was designed by award-winning architect Steve Smyers who thoughtfully incorporated the natural features of this picturesque landscape to create one of the best golf courses in Louisiana.

Tamahka Trails’ top-notch practice facility includes 50,000 square feet of hitting area, a 10,000 square-foot putting green and practice greens dedicated to bunker play, chipping and pitching. Beyond the scenic backdrop, you will find everything you would expect from a first-class golf club, including a full-service Clubhouse and Pro Shop. Best of all, it’s just steps away from all of the action at Paragon Casino Resort where you will find exciting slots, table games, live poker, sports betting, 3 hotel towers, dining options, spa/ salon, movie theater, child care, shopping, meeting/convention

space, and a live alligator habitat. Paragon’s Tamahka Trails is one of only a handful of courses in the state to be a part of Louisiana’s exclusive Audubon Golf Trail. Audubon Trail courses are selected for their exceptional design and appeal. This challenging 18-hole championship course was selected for its “new school” design based on Scotland’s legendary courses.

Special features include:

■ Bunkers featuring beautiful white sand, drainage and natural slopes that flow with the landscape.

■ Five sets of tees on each hole offering the perfect option for all skill levels.

■ Reshaped and narrowed fairways requiring accuracy off the tee.

■ Scenic cart paths with wooden bridges over natural water features optimizing the

course’s tranquil setting.

■ Iced mango towels & cooling stations located throughout the course.

■ Fully-loaded E-Z-GO carts with car charging ports and auto stop/start, ball/club cleaner, cooler, and towels.

■ And you can play all day with one all-inclusive rate.

Among other accolades, Tamahka Trails was ranked the #1 Golf Course in Louisiana by both Southern Gaming and Destination Magazine and And Best Renovation of the Year in 2021 by Golf Digest™ Magazine and Golf Inc.™ Magazine, along with Top 10 Courses in Louisiana by Golf Digest.

Some of the prestigious events hosted by Tamahka Trails including:

■ U.S. Open Qualifier - 2023, 2004, 2003, 2001

■ Louisiana State Senior Amateur Championship – 2023, 2002

■ U.S. Junior Amateur Championship® Qualifier – 2022

■ Louisiana Women’s Senior amateur Championship – 2021, 2002

■ Louisiana State Senior Four-Ball Championship – 2021, 2001

■ U.S. Senior Open® Qualifier – 2002

■ U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier – 2002

To reserve your tee time, a play and stay hotel package or for more information, call 318-240-6300 or 800-946-1946 OR visit

10 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 feature


Come find out why Tamahka Trails Golf Club is considered to be the best 18-hole golf experience in Louisiana...hands down.

• Consistently outstanding course conditions

• Unlimited golf for one green fee

• Challenging layout for all skill levels

• World-class practice facilities

• Fully-loaded golf carts

After your round, experience our exciting casino, hotel, restaurants, pools, spa, movie theater and more—all conveniently located in Central Louisiana.

Call 800-946-1946 and ask about our Stay & Play packages!

To reserve your tee time, visit or call 318-240-6300.

The Nature of Sport

Tilley Golf epitomizes a fusion of heritage, style, and unwavering functionality, creating a golf collection that seamlessly transitions from the course to everyday life. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to quality, Tilley Golf’s Canadian-designed line embraces a rich heritage of excellence in golf fashion.

This collection offers head-totoe style that effortlessly balances classic aesthetics with cutting-

edge performance. Rooted in its legacy as the maker of the world›s finest hats, Tilley Golf places a premium on protection from the elements, including harmful UV rays. The integration of sunresistant technologies in their apparel, especially their iconic hats, showcases the brand›s commitment to safeguarding golfers while enhancing their performance.

Available at select golf retailers and

12 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 fashion forward


Grass can be soft to the touch, resistant to weeds & bugs and also stand up to daily wear & drought.


Omni Orlando Resort At Championsgate Unveils

State-Of-The-Art Golf Entertainment Destination, Eagle’s Edge

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate announces the opening of its newest venue, Eagles Edge at ChampionsGate.

Centrally located at the 800-acre resort steps away from the main building, this one-of-a-kind, 6,000 square-foot facility boasts a staggering 30, unnetted bays powered by Toptracer Range technology, breathtaking views, and elevated culinary offerings.  Golf enthusiasts, convention attendees, and leisurely guests alike can compete against friends, play virtual courses, and receive instant statistics on their shots. Used by the world’s most renowned players, this innovative technology allows guests to see their shot trace and gain insight to improve their game regardless of skill level.  “Our resort is renowned for being a premier meeting and golf destination and while recognized as a traditional sport, we believe in pushing boundaries and embracing

innovation,” said Scott Tripoli, General Manager of Omni Orlando at ChampionsGate. “With Eagles Edge, we are transforming the way our guests partake in the game and event gatherings through an all-encompassing venue that brings state-of-the-art technology, topline service and unmatched food and beverage offerings.”

More than just a game, guests

can indulge in curated craft brews, inventive cocktails and a robust food selection that goes beyond traditional clubhouse fare. Comprised of dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients that cater to all palates and occasions, menu highlights include Tracer Loaded Nachos, Farmer’s Harvest Flatbread, and Smoked Brisket or Local

14 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 what's new

Snapper Street Tacos.

An ideal setting for corporate or leisure gatherings, the stateof-the-art hotel venue’s design effortlessly combines openconcept spaces with

elegant architectural elements that harmonize beautifully with the natural landscape. Sports fans won’t miss a play of any game courtesy of the 47 televisions situated throughout the space. Whether it is an intimate party of six or a large corporate soiree of 1,000 on the sprawling lawn, Eagles Edge offers an array of areas to congregate or take on the greens with adjoining mini golf and lighted par three courses.

Bays can be reserved by the hour (for 1-6 guests) via OpenTable; walk-in guests welcomed, but reservations are highly encouraged. Private events and catering options are available seven days a week. For group bookings please contact Eagles Edge Sales and Services Manager at eagles.edge@omnihotels. com or call (407) 707-3111.

For more information on Omni Orlando at ChampionsGate or to book, visit


15 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

Emilie Bertram

Where were you born? I was born & raised in a small town in Northern Kentucky called Falmouth.

What do you do for a living? I am currently in my junior year of college at Eastern Kentucky University as a level 2 PGA student. Within the Professional Golf Management program, I have completed 9 months of internship at Idle Hour Country Club and Lexington Country Club - both in the heart of Kentucky. This summer, I will be branching out of my comfort zone to the Country Club of the Rockies, in Vail, Colorado. I am blessed to have had such beneficial experiences already, and am beyond excited for this upcoming adventure!

What would you like to do for a living? I have a lot of goals and dreams, and this question is one of the hardest ones to answeryet the one I am asked the most. I am very passionate about this industry and find myself overwhelmed at the infinite possibilities at times. With that being said, in a perfect world, I will create/ run my own practice facility, one for serious players to utilize, as well as beginners to help them fall in love with the game as well. In conjunction with the facility, I would also launch my own junior golf league for girls, designed to empower them in ways that are otherwise difficult in such a historically male-dominated sport. I love the fashion side of golf as well, so naturally I would launch my own apparel line at my facility and grow it from there.

Aside from golf; what do you prefer for fun and relaxation? Doing anything outside! I grew up hunting & fishing on our farm, so I will always love to be in nature no matter the activity. I also love listening to music - I listen to music during almost everything I do. I especially love it when I play/practice golf. Some of my favorites are Conway Twitty, Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, Ronnie Milsap, and the Eagles.

Whom do you most admire for their inner and outer beauty? My mommy. She is the strongest person I know, and she has been through just about every trial and tribulation there is. She lives for those in her life, constantly putting everyone else’s needs before her own. She always tells the truth, even when it’s hard and she is always her authentic true self - no matter who is around. She is so smart; she is an incredible salesman and an excellent golfer. She is always striving to get ahead – she knows what she wants, what she loves, and who she is. I am lucky to have such a beautiful, strong role model as my mother, my best friend, and my forever golf partner. I can think of no one else more deserving of every good thing in this world.

Steak, chicken, or seafood? It depends entirely on my mood. I am the opposite of picky and will eat most anything.

What three things would you need to survive on a deserted island? Endless supply of chocolate, a way to have music, and my golf bag of course.

What do you find to be the most annoying habit people demonstrate on the golf course? To me, it’s when guys say things like “I hit that like a girl,” or ask each other where their “skirt” is when they hit a short/poor shot. I know they aren’t trying to be offensive to me, being a female, and it doesn’t offend me, but I always remember what it implies whenever they say those things. I think that men (boys) will say things like this until the end of time, so as women it’s our job to be proud of who we are and show them just how good it can be to “hit it like a girl.”

Name the three most important things to you in this world. My family, my friends, and my health.

What do you fear the most? My biggest (rational) fear is looking back in 30 years and feeling like I didn’t live my life to the fullest and seize every good opportunity in my path. My biggest (irrational) fear is my parents potentially not remembering who I am one day. I do not think I would be able to go through that, and my deepest sympathy goes to those whose loved ones have suffered from Alzheimer’s, it is truly one of the worst diseases one can go through. What three people would you most like to play with in your fantasy golf foursome? Two years ago, I would have answered mom, dad, and Tiger Woods - hands down without a doubt. However, I lost my grandfather last June, and though playing with my parents and Tiger would be an absolute dream - I would give anything to be able to play one more round with papaw. Papaw loved golf, and he was a very competitive player, one of the best putters out there (and he wasn’t afraid to let you know either.) Though it was several years ago, I will never forget the last round I played with mom, dad, and papaw.

Last book you read? The Golfer’s Mind, by Dr. Bob Rotella. My mental game has always been the weakest part of my game and Rotella’s books have truly changed the way I think, especially on the golf course. He is so intelligent.

Favorite magazine? Golf Central of course!

Favorite charity to support? St. Jude’s Children’s Research hospital, families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food from St. Jude!

16 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 golf bachelorette

Looking For Lightning To Strike Twice!

2THUMB’s Dingman hoping for “Super” success again on his second time around.

Darin Dingman’s love for the game – both on and off the golf course – began thanks to his mother when she opened a retail golf shop, The Caddy Shack, in San Marcos, California in 1988. Born in Detroit, the avid, single digit golfer attended college at Grand Valley State University. But the self-starting, go-getting Dingman wasn’t long for formal education or developing his future career the traditional way. At age 19, he dropped out of college and started his golf journey honing his sales and retail skills in his mother’s golf store.

A few years later, Dingman got an opportunity to return to his native Dearborn, Michigan and became a store manager at Nevada Bob’s. Started in 1974, Nevada Bob’s had slowly defined and expanded the concept of the golf retail chain and mass merchandising through a system of franchises and ownership agreements.

Dingman grew sales in the Dearborn store from 30,000 to $3 million. He

became immersed in the equipment side of the game, specifically the design side, as Nevada Bob’s began to manufacturer and sell its own “inhouse” branded golf clubs.

Dingman wanted more. Through his connections, he jumped ship and started working for a small equipment company called Pole-Kat Golf, makers of the first mass-produced long putter. He began designing and manufacturing clubs for the company in Michigan, generating 200,000 pieces a year, selling full sets of mid-price point golf clubs including drivers, fairway woods, irons and putters. Dingman handled sales and brought his brother, Dean, into the company to handle sourcing.

Five years later the brothers were off and running. And run they did, leaving Pole-Kat behind, and with the help of several financial partners, they started their own equipment company in 1998 producing beginner sets under the name Tiger Shark in the U.S. Darin focused on design and run-

ning the back-end operations while Dean developed the front-end and management of the company.

Tiger Shark found its retail niche focusing on mid-price point clubs and manufacturing packaged sets for almost a decade. During that time, Darin developed what is believed to be the first oversized grip, the XYZ. The concept was simple —the thicker the grip, the harder it would be to break your wrists, creating a smooth, pendulum stroke.

Meanwhile, a little known start-up called SuperStroke, invented by a man named Harold Roelky and his partner Chris Doerr in nearby Milwaukee, Wisconsin launched its own oversized putting grip by running an informercial on the Golf Channel. As the story goes, six-time PGA Tour champion KJ Choi (at the time), saw it and bought one. Choi practiced with it in his hotel room for weeks before putting it in his bag.

“That original (SuperStroke) grip was huge,” laughed Darin Dingman.

18 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
improving performance

“It was round and heavy, like the size of a Coke can.”

It was no laughing matter for Choi. He immediately won the 2008 Sony Open in January and the ugly duckling, SuperStroke putting grip, was on the golf map. When it started selling in retail stores, the grip was marketed in a clamshell package on the accessory wall and struggled to gain traction.

The experienced Dingman brothers saw the potential and met with the SuperStroke owners at the 2009 PGA Show which led to a buyout of the company later that year for approximately $750,000.

Darin went to work on a redesign immediately, changing the bulky, heavy-weighted 230 gram rubber/ metal grip, and transforming it using a light weight EVA foam underlisting that weighed 67 grams, about 7 grams more than a normal grip. He called it the “Flatso” by uniquely creating a flat top with a non-tapered design in multiple shapes and sizes. Minimizing the movement of the hands during the stroke, maximized the squareness of the putterhead at impact. The SuperStroke putting grip started gaining momentum on Tour.

Then came the perfect storm which began in 2011.

KJ Choi won THE PLAYERS Championship (held in May) putting with the Flatso and jumped to sixth in the FedExCup standings. Jason Dufner finished second in the 93rd PGA Championship (held in August) after losing in a three-hole playoff to Keegan Bradley at the Atlanta Country Club in Georgia.

“I didn’t even know who Dufner was,” said (Darin) Dingman. “I was playing in a tournament in Cheboygan (Michigan) and watched the final holes in the bar. Dufner was leading the tournament. He was playing the Flatso. We had 50-60K grips in stock and sold out that week.”

The company grew from $750,000 in sales to $15 million in five years. The company slowly divested from its golf club business and focused exclusively on grips.

The gravy train kept on rolling for the Dingman brothers and Su-

perStroke. In 2013, the golf world crowned its “next big thing” since Tiger Woods when former University of Texas golfer Jordan Spieth, age 19, became the youngest PGA Tour winner in 82 years, to capture his first PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic.

Spieth did it in dramatic style when he drained a one hop bunker shot on the 18th hole to join a playoff with defending champ Zach Johnson and David Hearn. The epic five-hole playoff that ensued concluded with Spieth holing a 26-inch putt for the win with his black and white, can’t miss Su perStroke logo’d putting grip, getting

as much TV time as Spieth did while claiming first professional win.

But wait there’s more. Fast forward to Spieth’s record-setting, 2015 PGA Tour “Player of the Year” season. Spieth won five times including two majors (the Masters and US Open), and the FedExCup playoffs.

“Spieth is the one who took it (Superstroke) to the next level; we

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
Jordon Speith sinks another putt on his way to The Masters championship in 2015. Speith’s hot putter, topped off by the Darin Dingman-designed oversized Super Stroke putting grip, not only carried him to a banner year in 2015, but also sent Super Stroke sales soaring. (photo credit - Chris Carlson/AP

him,” said Dingman. “You win two majors, you’re on the cover of Golf Digest. Spieth was the next Tiger Woods and solidified us as a brand.”

In 2015, SuperStroke was purchased by EG Capital, a private equity firm based in New York City. Dingman sold his stake in the business and entered a five year non-compete agreement. During COVID, Dingman got the itch to get back into the golf business. He researched the different grip companies online and started designing grips again.

Dingman had been a longtime fan of a putter grip and methodology called 2Thumb that was developed in the UK in 2004 and invented by putting coach and golf professional Phillip Gazely. It was the 2Thumb grip that had provided Dingman’s inspiration for the original flat top, Flatso grip.

With golf rounds and interest in the game going through the roof during the pandemic, Dingman saw the opportunity to expand 2Thumb’s product line and promote it in the United States. Dingman became a majority owner in the newly formed U.S. company with 2Thumb’s CEO Paul Homersham, who gave him full control of operations and building the

brand on the U.S. professional tours.

Dingman quickly jumped back into his comfort zone designing new grip models, a bolder logo and consistent branding, along with improving the feel and materials of the grip based on tour players’ feedback.

The Snug SQ 30 has proven to be one of the most popular grips in the 2Thumb product line. All ‘SQ’ models have the same depth and width and are 59mm longer than the Snug Tour models providing greater versatility in gripping styles for amateur golfers. 2Thumb will accommodate all of today’s putter grip styles from Conventional, Claw, Left hand low, Prayer, etc. 2Thumb grips feature a smooth soft and flat front to ensure consistent grip alignment; the rounded underbelly sits perfectly in the lifeline of the palms delivering the ultimate in feel and feedback in the stroke. 2Thumb’s

exclusive Dimax technology runs down both sides of the grip to ensure traction and less grip pressure, keeping the hands more relaxed.

Dingman understands what it takes to build a brand and the process.

“Everyone thought SuperStroke was an overnight success,” said Dingman. “It doesn’t work that way; today more than ever. You must be prepared for the long game.”

2Thumb is starting to gain traction and believers on the PGA Tour. The company has two official brand ambassadors and is adding double digit grips in play every week. Matt Wallace from Hillingdon, England, has ten international wins and one PGA TOUR victory, the 2023 Corales Puntacana Championship. South Carolina native, Matt Nesmith, who turned pro in 2016, has nine Top 10 finishes on tour.

“Call me crazy for getting back into the golf business, said Dingman, “but like many of us, golf is a special game that just gets in your veins.”

Dingman struck golf gold once and believes with 2Thumb he can do it again.

20 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
(below) Darin Dingman (l) and 2Thumb CEO Paul Homersham are confident in the potential for their product to enjoy great success. TOUR SERIES+ JACKET men BLACK / STEEL TOUR SERIES+ JACKET women BLACK / CADET SPEEDCART V1R PUSH CART BLACK / GUNMETAL TOUR SERIES+ PANT MEN / WOMEN 2024 C-130 CART BAG BLACK / STEEL / RUSH RED

Wilmarie Perez

at Cleveland Heights Golf Club

Where did you grow up? I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Lakeland, FL when I was 12 years old.

What do you feel makes this club special? The people I work with who are so welcoming since day one; along with the customers who make me a part of their day while playing golf.

What is your favorite part of being a cart girl? What is your least favorite part? My favorite is being outdoors, interacting and making my customers laugh even when their game is off. And, my least favorite part is the inconsistency of the weather.

What is your memorable moment working as a cart girl? Having one of my regulars try teaching me to play golf and actually landing on the green.

What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on the golf course? Watching an alligator walk in the middle of the green and having one of the golfers try to pet him.

What type of music do you prefer? I’m a mood listener and I like pretty much all music. I could be listening to Spanish, Country, Hip-Hop or Pop Hits. I’m a big Swiftie!

What hobbies do you enjoy? I love reading, movies, theme parks, hanging out with my dog, family and going to the beach.

What is your idea of a “perfect date”? I haven’t had the perfect date yet but I would say something where we can get to know each other while having fun. The simple things always make the best memories.

Relaxed evening at home, or nightclub and cocktails? I’m a homebody but a nice evening with cocktails and a good company sounds great too!

Favorite comedian? Kevin Hart.

Favorite type of movies? Action, Romance, Comedy and Thriller/ Scary.

Favorite charity to support? ASPCA as I am a big animal lover and American Kidney Fund as my mother is a dialysis patient for the second time in her life.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 cart girl

An Emotional Valspar Championship Victory for Peter Malnati

With his wife and young children watching alongside the 18th green at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, Peter Malnati claimed his second career PGA TOUR victory about 9 years since his first.

The Indiana native began the final round two shots back

and closed with a victory over Cameron Young by that same margin after firing a 4 under par 67 to go 12 under par for the week.

Before lifting the trophy, an emotional Malnati hoisted his 4 year old son Hatcher and shared some heartfelt thoughts.“That moment of winning a tournament

and having your family come out onto the green, the big hugs and all of that, that’s something that I’ve seen other families have and that’s been my dream. I’ve had a lot of stretches of golf in the last nine years where I wondered if that would ever happen,” Malnati said. “I’m in peace with who I am and the way I live and the work that I put into this. If I’d never had that moment I had today I would have been completely fine. But man is that special.”

36 year old Malnati wins the self-proclaimed “most colorful PGA TOUR tournament in the world” (since it is sponsored by a paint company) and is rather colorful himself, not one to hide his emotions from public view. Fans certainly recognize the bucket hat he wears to honor his friend and former PGA TOUR player Jarrod Lyle, who died in 2018 after losing his battle to leukemia. That happened three years after Malnati’s first big win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s also the guy who plays with a yellow Titleist golf ball.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 24 north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north fl PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour
Getty Images Getty Images

“It is fitting, isn’t it? Thank you to my boy Hatcher over there. I think he’s kind of over it now, but it was cool last summer when I first told him that they made yellow golf balls. So I switched because he was into it and now Daddy kind of likes it and I think I’ll be sticking with it for a little while and we’ll have the most colorful ball on TOUR for at least 12 months, you know, until I go pull a Sam Burns (who won back to back in 2021-22), the most colorful ball on TOUR will be the Valspar champion.”

Beyond a more than $1.5 Million payday, Malnati earned a two-year exemption on TOUR, a spot in the remaining $20 Million signature events and can expect his first invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.

“You know, I got asked a lot when I was a kid, my uncle has tickets to the Masters, do you want to come, my friend has tickets to the Masters, do you want to come, and I always said no, I don’t want to go watch people play golf. That doesn’t sound fun. So I didn’t go.

And then as I became a PGA TOUR member and played on the PGA TOUR, became a winner on the PGA TOUR, I would occasionally meet the right person who would say, hey, do you want to come play Augusta? I was like, no. Like,

I want to go play Augusta when I’m in the Masters. That’s when I want to go play Augusta.”

The Masters was so far off Malnati’s radar he had to ask the moderator of the news conference when it took place.

25 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

Chicken Cock Whiskey has released a new limited edition Double Oak Single Barrel in partnership with PGA TOUR Pro and whiskey enthusiast Kevin Kisner, whom Chicken Cock Whiskey signed a multi-year partnership with last year. This new Kentucky Whiskey comes just in time for the men’s major golf championship season. Coming off a sold-out first single barrel limited edition bottle with Chicken Cock Whiskey in 2023,

Chicken Cock Whiskey’s Newest Single Barrel: Nine-Year-Old Double Oak Kentucky Whiskey

Kisner has again partnered with the brand on two additional Double Oak Kentucky Whiskey single barrels. These single barrels are some of the most interesting whiskeys Chicken Cock has available - nine-year-aged Double Oak Kentucky Straight Whiskey.

“Authenticity and quality are two characteristics I value, which are especially true for Chicken Cock Whiskey. This is why we have again collaborated on this really nice Double Oak single barrel,” shares Kisner. “From the authentic brand history to the meticulous attention to detail of its whiskey production, Chicken Cock Whiskey is a real one.”

The Double Oak Kentucky Whiskey was first placed in exbourbon barrels for seven years, then finished in new white oak barrels for an additional two years to add complexity and

flavor. Each single barrel for the Kisner release was selected by Kisner with input from Chicken Cock Whiskey’s Master Distiller, Gregg Snyder. The Kevin “Kiz” Kisner Single Barrel is Kentucky Whiskey with a mash bill of 80% Corn, 11.5% Rye and 8.5% Malted Barley, bottled at a barrel strength of 119.2 proof or 59.6% ABV.

“Kisner’s quick wit and sharp one-liners like ‘Ain’t No Hobby’ resonate with the audience. We wanted to bring that personality on these labels to reflect the bold, confident Chicken Cock attitude as well as Kisner’s personality,” says Grain & Barrel CMO Kyle Harder.

Bottles are available for purchase at for $149.99

26 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 competitive spirits

Sky Valley


As you begin to map out your summer vacation plans and/or finalize your long-weekend golf getaway destinations, give serious consideration to North Georgia, specifically Sky Valley, Georgia which is located in Rabun County. Located in the upper northeast section of the Peach State, Sky Valley is basically a hop, skip, and a jump from North Carolina. In fact, as you drive north to Sky Valley, you will literally cross the GeorgiaNorth Carolina state line, enter North Carolina for a few seconds, and then return to Georgia before you reach your final destination.

If you are looking for fresh air, head to Sky Valley. If you want to go hiking or backpacking in the hills, er mountains, of North Georgia, head to Sky Valley. If you want to go birdwatching, head to Sky Valley. If you just want to enjoy the beauty of the flora and the fauna that exist in the

Nantahala National Forest and the North Georgia Mountains, head to Sky Valley. If you want cooler temperatures, especially in the summer, head to Sky Valley. And, if you want a delightful, first-class, scenic golf experience, head to Sky Valley, specifically to the Sky Valley Country Club – www.skyvalleycountryclub.

com or 706-746-5302 – which is a member of the Georgia Golf Trail. “Sky Valley is like ‘heaven on earth’ and is in its own category,” said Doug Hollandsworth, founder, Georgia Golf Trail. “Georgia is lucky to have such an outstanding destination for golfers and those who are true outdoor recreation enthusiasts in our

28 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 georgia golf trail

state and for those visiting from the nearby surrounding states.”

At the Sky Valley CC, you’ll discover a mountain golf course that winds its way through the valley. Here, there are many tee shots from raised tees where you truly must take the time to enjoy the view before you strike your tee shot. Those elevated tees can be found

life. You won’t be disappointed.

Sky Valley is such an amazing, alluring and attractive destination that many people who come for a visit actually end up deciding to buy a house in the area by working with realtors at Drake Realty.

“There are many examples of people visiting Sky Valley or anywhere in Rabun County and

at the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 15th, and 17th holes. Sky Valley’s signature hole – the 15th hole -- is another locale which you must appreciate and take a selfie before you put your tee peg in the ground. The 15th hole is a downhill par 3 with a 60-foot elevation drop from tee to green.

The greater Rabun County – www. – area has a strong reputation of producing locally grown food which is why this area is called the Farmto-Table Capital of Georgia. A winery and vineyards are also in this area. So, when you visit Sky Valley, come with an appetite and a taste for the finer things in

then deciding to actually buy or build a house in the area to have as a new full-time residence or as a permanent destination for weekend getaways throughout the year,” added Hollandsworth.

Again, the greater Sky Valley area is truly as appealing for non-golfers as it is for golfers, especially if you like hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating, camping, whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, birdwatching, croquet, pickleball, tennis, bocce ball, and zip lining.

It’s fair to say that however long you stay at Sky Valley, it’s never going to be long enough since there’s always something else to do, see, try, taste, and discover.

For variety in your accommodations and dining while at Sky Valley, consider staying and eating at The Dillard House (www. in nearby Dillard, Georgia. Here, the accommodations are first-class and the familystyle dining will satisfy all hunger pains. The Dillard House has been operating for more than a century.

One of the many great things about Sky Valley is that you can check out current conditions by accessing Sky Valley’s 24-hour webcam: https://www.resortcams. com/webcams/sky-valley-ga/.

For more information about Sky Valley CC and other courses along the Georgia Golf Trail, access

Sky Valley and all of Rabun County await your arrival and your eventual return for years to come.

Sky Valley 8th hole tee shot

29 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
Sky Valley 17th Tee

Born on the vibrant greens of the golf course, Viva Tequila Seltzer is the brainchild of a group of friends passionate about both fitness and flavor. Inspired by the invigorating atmosphere of the links, we set out to create a beverage that embodies the spirit of fun, health, and adventure. Thus, Viva Tequila Seltzer was born, fusing the crispness of seltzer with the smoothness of premium tequila for a truly refreshing experience.

Product Description: Viva Tequila Seltzer is not just a drink; it’s a lifestyle choice. Crafted with care and attention to detail, each can of Viva packs a punch of flavor while keeping things light and guilt-free. With only 88 calories, 0 sugar, 0 carbs, and gluten-free, Viva Tequila Seltzer is the perfect choice for those who prioritize their health without compromising on taste. Whether you’re on the course, at the beach, or simply enjoying a moment of relaxation, Viva is there to elevate your experience with its refreshing bubbles and tantalizing tequila essence.

30 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 grip it & sip it

big things are on the horizon. With a modern Pete Dye gem and a classic Donald Ross layout, this road trip packs quite a 1-2 punch. Experience two elite courses together at one must-play resort.

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Monkeying Around in Mysterious Malaysia Mysterious Malaysia

Malaysia is nestled between Thailand and Indonesia in the South China Sea. An exotic destination indeed but not on most people’s radar as a place to play golf. This is a land of contrasts. At one end of the spectrum are the towering skyscrapers, world-class entertainment, unique restaurants, and enticing shopping districts. On the other end, unspoiled countryside, lush rainforests, remote jungles and plenty of pristine beaches and tropical islands to relax on.

Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, is the cultural, financial, and economic center, worthy of at least a couple of days of exploration. In between sightseeing and acclimatizing yourself, you must play a round or two.

Glenmarie Golf & Country Club is conveniently located only 8 miles from the city center. They offer two championship layouts – Garden

and Valley. Both are relatively flat, but water comes into play on half the holes so be prepared.

About 150km away is historic Melaka, named after an indigenous endangered tree, reportedly

the #1 tourist destination in Malaysia. It is designated a UNESCO World Heritage City that maintains not only their sensitive environment but has kept its unique culture and heritage as a seaport. Founded in 1396, more than 2,000 ships pass through the Straits of Melaka every day.

There are four golf courses in the immediate area, but we only got a chance to play two of them.

A’Famosa Golf Resort is a 27hole layout that is consistently voted “Top Ten Golf Courses” in the country. As their monikers suggest – the Palms play though coconut trees, whereas the Rocky nine is named after the boulder outcrops and the Crocodile is built next to a crocodile pit with a daunting island green.

Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club has three nines, the Lake, Meadow, and Woodlands. These are all tough courses where the 9th hole on the Lake Course was voted hardest golf hole in

32 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 international golf central
A'Fomosa Golf Resort

Malaysia. However, the combination of 8 and 9 may be the strongest that I have ever played. This is also where we saw a multitude of monkeys that will surely make your trip a true adventure.

A quick 45-minute flight from Kuala Lumpur is the tropical island of Langkawi, a perennial favorite for locals and tourists alike who want to kick back and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle.

Nearby is the 18-hole Gunung Raya Golf Resort, a great par 72 featuring plenty of water, surrounded by dense jungle - a great way to finish your journey.

While you are there you must

take a trip to Panorama Langkawi, a 1.5 mile, 15-minute thrill ride up the Machincang Mountain on a free span single rope cable car. There is a hiking trail and three stations to explore including the SkyBridge, one of the world’s longest curved suspension bridges. The breathtaking 360-degree views of the nearby islands, waterfalls, hillside flora and unique wildlife will be forever engrained in your mind.

Malaysia’s heritage, architecture, traditions, and cuisine are as rich and diverse as its population - the very best of the Far East, all in one country. A once-in-alifetime experience indeed!

33 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
Monkeying Around at Tiara G&CC Ganung Raya Golf Club Panorma Langkawi Skywalk

Omnix Golf

If you’ve played golf courses in Asia then you’ve probably already heard of Omnix. Omnix Golf is a best-selling brand in the Eastern market with over 15 countries sporting Omnix Golf bags from the tee boxes of South Korea to the greens of Singapore. Even global car manufacturer Lexus sports the label with their own Japanese collaboration bag. The buzz of excitement overseas has inspired Omnix to set up shop in North America, now catching the eyes of golfers including influencers @newninegolf, @caddie_issues, @ samantha_shoshanna, @jasmine101c, and @lisareedfitness on Instagram.

Making Golf Sexy

Omnix Golf has broken the golf bag lethargy of history’s past, revolutionizing golf bags for the bold and flashy golfers of today. Unique and unconventional materials adorn Omnix Golf bags, including a transparent iridescent rainbow and removable casters for smoother transport on carry bags. All materials used for Omnix Golf bags are water resistant and defiantly sexy.

At present, carry bags with optional casters, stand bags, sunday bags, and umbrellas by Omnix Golf are all available for purchase on Retailers seeking wholesale pricing and brands interested in private label or custom bags can learn more at privatelabel.


The Power2Golf club is revolutionizing accessibility for golf enthusiasts who struggle with making a full swing due to disabilities, injuries, or age-related limitations. This invention, from Roy H. Taylor, provides a path back to the fairways for those who once thought they would never play golf again. Upon receiving your Power2Golf club, you will find the patented club, a club cover, three Play Power Packs, a club cleaner spray, and instructions included in the package. The instructions provide guidance on the loading process and firing method with diagrams and detailed step-by-step instructions to ensure a smooth start to your golfing experience.

Utilizing the Power2Golf club is easier than ever! This

The Legendary Golfers of Augusta National

Starting in the 1930s, the Black caddies of Augusta National walked the course with the world’s greatest golfers. This book tells their stories, forever entwined with the history of the game.

They used nicknames like Stovepipe, Burnt Biscuits, Skillet, Skinny, and Marble Eye. They worked for presidents of the United States, captains of industry, and the greatest golfers in the world. Their real names were Carl Jackson, Willie Perteet, and Matthew Palmer—and they witnessed every great moment, both private and public, at Augusta National beginning in the1930s—from Gene Sarazen’s “shot heard ‘round the world” to Jack Nicklaus winning a record five of his six Masters. Nicklaus said he wouldn’t trade caddie Willie “Pete” Peterson “for a million dollars” and what Willie “Cemetery” Perteet really thought of President Eisenhower’s golf game. The Black caddies of Augusta National also endured, in their own ways, the racist social order of the sport and at the same time participated, albeit vicariously, in its many thrills. Ward Clayton documents their stories—history as compelling as the game of golf itself.

innovative club allows for drives up to 225 yards and approach shots as short as 25 yards. Adjusting the shot distance is made easy with the Variable Range Control. With easy-to-see numbers and a quick adjustment, the club can go from a smooth 225-yard drive down the middle to an easy 50-yard approach in seconds. Players can also shape their shots according to their preferences by placing the club down and adjusting the handle angle.

For more information, please visit or find the Power2Golf team on social media @power2golf. If you’re interested in sponsoring a club for a U.S. Veteran, you can find the “Sponsor a Veteran” tab on the website to help an injured veteran get back on the course playing the game we all love.

34 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
special events

Savvy Setup Golf Towel

Experience the next level of golfing excellence with the Savvy Setup Golf Towel. Designed to revolutionize your practice sessions and improve on-course performance, this innovative towel doubles as a training aid. Say goodbye to inconsistent setups and hello to perfect alignment, stance, posture, and ball position with every swing. Crafted with durable materials and featuring user-friendly icons, the Savvy Setup Golf Towel is your go-to tool for mastering the fundamentals of the game. Whether you’re a beginner looking to refine your skills or a seasoned pro aiming for greater consistency, this towel is a game-changer.

Shot Scope V5 Golf Watch

Shot Scope (, the golf industryleader in GPS, rangefinder and shot tracking technology, today introduced the multi-function V5 Golf Watch, the most advanced GPS and automatic performance tracking smart watch under $250, and with NO subscription fees.

The V5 debuts for players of all levels offering unprecedented distance measuring with pinpoint accuracy from anywhere on the golf course, while capturing data on every shot and delivering golfers instant feedback to better understand their game for optimal performance. In fact, with V5, golfers have access to over 100 game improving statistics, including Strokes Gained and Handicap Benchmarking, for use on over 36,000 preloaded golf courses worldwide. The newest addition to Shot Scope’s award-winning V Series, the V5 joins the popular and customizable G5 GPS watch and the premium touchscreen X5 performance tracking watch, providing an extensive range and choice of products for golfers.

“There is simply no multi-function GPS and shot tracking watch under $250, and with no subscription fees, that can offer the automated performance capabilities of the V5,” said David Hunter, CEO, Shot Scope. “Backed by partnerships with the National Golf Foundation, PGA Golf Retirement+, and TROON, millions of golfers will quickly learn about this watch and its endless features that give any type of golfer the most accurate on-course information needed to perform at the highest level, as well as expert shot tracking technology to drive measurable game improvement.”

Priced at $249.99, the V5 Golf Watch, and all Shot Scope products are available for purchase at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, PGA TOUR Superstores, golf specialty stores or online at

Check out a video of the V5 watch cwCBbzSyoP0, and keep up-to-date with all of the Shot Scope news on social media: Twitter @Shotscope / Facebook @Shotscope Instagram @shot_scope.

35 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

Ali Mulhall Named Utah Junior Golfer of the Year

World-ranked golfer recognized as Nevada’s 5A High School Player of the Year and Wyoming’s State Golf Association Player of the Year

Ali Mulhall, Black Desert Team

Athlete and up-and-coming world ranked golfer, has been named Utah’s Junior Golfer of the Year by the Utah Junior Golf Association. Determined by the association’s board of directors, the distinction is based upon a player’s performance and scores over the course of a year.

Winning 20 out of the 26 tournaments she competed in during 2023, Mulhall also received recognition as the 5A High School Player of the Year in Nevada and State Golf Association Player of the Year in Wyoming. As a result of her game last year, she has earned three Player of the Year accolades across three states.

“Ali’s consistency and dedication to her craft have truly set her apart as one of the most promising young golfers in the region,” said Patrick Manning, managing partner of Black Desert. “We are focused on providing her with the support she deserves to continue developing her rapidly evolving career on and off the course.”

for the game and taking it to the next level.”

Mulhall’s recent wins, including the Coral Canyon Amateur in St. George and the National Club Championships presented by TaylorMade, add to her extensive career record of 348 wins.

“I felt like I played really well the entire year,” said Mulhall. “We just made the move to St. George in 2023 and winning Player of the Year, in what is now my home state, is what fuels my passion

Mulhall is set to embark on a new chapter in her golfing journey, taking a gap year from college to pursue her pro card at the Ladies Golf Professional Association (LPGA) Qualifying School (Q School) this fall. With sights set on playing on the LPGA Tour, Q-School is a multi-phase process that leads up to the Q-Series, a series of qualifying tournaments that grants LPGA Tour status to top performers.

In addition to the dedication to her own game, Mulhall is committed to growing the women’s game on the junior side.

“Practicing and playing out of Black Desert has taken my game to the next level,” said Mulhall.

“Black Desert has also given me the platform to pursue my other passion of growing the women’s game on the junior side.”

To inspire the next generation of female golfers, Mulhall is holding weekly clinics at Black Desert, in addition to women’s and kid’s programs. She held her first clinic last week, which was attended by more than 100 aspiring female golfers looking to receive instruction from Mulhall. Her next three-week clinic will begin on Wednesday, March 13.

To learn more about Ali Mulhall and sign up for one of her clinics, contactgolfclinics@ For more information about Black Desert Resort, visit https://

36 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 young guns


Set on a pristine white sand beach, Baha Mar perfectly balances an array of spectacular experiences with luxurious relaxation in the pure Caribbean sunshine. Exquisite dining experiences from world-renowned chefs, lush tropical pools, The Bahamas’ top golf course, and our new 15-acre luxury water park Baha Bay await.



The Enterprising Women of GolfForever

Five Former Women’s Collegiate Golfers Are Powering the Success of Golf’s Leading Fitness Brand

OK, admittedly, this is not your typical team Zoom call.

In the middle of a meetingravaged, impossibly hectic Thursday, more than a dozen GolfForever staffers stand squared-up to their laptops, ready to open their hips, add core stability, then increase body mobility and shoulder rotation. The trim, athletic company founder, Dr. Jeremy James has dialed in from Australia. Newly promoted CEO Bear Kaminer and fully engaged VPs from various divisions exercise along with an expert fitness guru from cities all over Colorado, the Midwest and the West Coast.

While other execs around the world wrestle over profit & loss reports, HR debacles and endless data analysis, the assembled Dream Team behind the leading golf fitness platform is staying true to its culture and mission by prioritizing its staff’s health and fitness before they head back out and collectively continue the quest to be one of the most indispensable brands in the golf business.

It’s an exhilarating time for the golf industry, with on-course and entertainment-golf-venue participation soaring, equipment sales running hot, destination travel still booming and entrepreneurialism within golf at an all-time high. GolfForever has harnessed the energy of those culminating forces about as well as any brand in the golf space over the last three years, tripling sales its YOY sales figures in both 2022 and 2023 and recently becoming the Official Golf Fitness System of the PGA TOUR. The platform popularized, in

part, by world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler (who religiously uses the GolfForever SwingTrainer in his workouts) promises users less pain, along with more mobility, flexibility, strength, stamina, and balance. It has become one of the fastest growing companies in the industry by delivering on its claims.

Unsurprisingly, the key players who have driven GolfForever’s rapid rise possess an uncommon depth of talent and experience that make them uncannily suited to aggressively scale the growth of this finely tuned startup. In fact, five of the roughly two dozen professionals who make up the GolfForever team, five are former women’s collegiate golfers who have each carved a unique niche of their own in the golf space and employ a highly specific skill set to fuel the company’s growing influence.

A tireless networker and problem solver, Nicole Hage honed her craft on the pristine-but-treacherous fairways and greens on the LPGA Tour from 2007 to 2014 after a successful playing career at Auburn University. It was on the LPGA that she took on the philosophy to always leave the situations in her life better than she found them. In her Business Development role at GolfForever, Hage forges strategic partnerships with key players in golf, like dozens upon dozens of college golf programs and large unified golf associations. To date, the most impactful partnership Hage has helped orchestrate was with her former home on the LPGA.

Historically, fitness amenities on the LPGA have been virtually

nonexistent. By equipping the game’s elite female golfers with GolfForever Swing Trainers and subscriptions to the AIpowered GolfForever app, those players can now access stateof the-art fitness at any venue, completely at their convenience. Talk about a game changer.

“When I played, it was a glaring elephant in the room that there were no fitness trailers, onsite physical trainers let alone masseuses like there are on The PGA TOUR. The quality of your workouts was contingent on the state of the gym at the Hampton Inn, if you had any place to work out at all,” said Hage. “So, to play a role in making proven golf-focused fitness accessible to the game’s best players is gratifying in a way that’s almost impossible to put into words.”

Similar to Hage, Stacy Borkowski, GolfForever’s VP of Sales and Kerri Costello, the National Sales Manager, recall that what passed for golf fitness during their college playing days is a far cry from the advances GolfForever brings to the table today.

“We worked out, but we worked out like team sports athletes. Golfspecific training wasn’t what it is today, so It’s easy for me to be passionate about something that I know helps golf solve critical issues in their bodies so they can play the game better and enjoy it more. GolfForever effectively grows the game by keeping more people in it and thriving,” Borkowski, a former golfer for the University of Kentucky and sales exec at Nike and adidas.

For Costello, who was one of

38 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 golf business

the few female sales and player development professionals for Acushnet/Titleist during a nine-year run, GolfForever brings more than a breakthrough in golf fitness and wellness. The most impactful sea change she thinks the brand can help bring about is opening golfers’ eyes to the fact that their bodies are the most vital piece of equipment and having the body finely tuned outweighs the benefits of custom-fit drivers or cutting-edge golf balls.

“You use your body on every shot you hit in golf, so your body has to be prepared for the workload and strong enough to hit the shots you want to hit,” the former University of Maryland golfer explains. “For the golfing world to take that next step in the evolution of making their bodies the most trusted piece of equipment, it has to be the same kind of aspirational drive that has led to golf equipment and golf ball fitting becoming the new standard in golf retail. Now, everyone gets custom fit for their equipment, but that wasn’t the case until golf professionals became invested in the process. Our next phase of growth will undoubtedly involve giving teaching and club professionals the tools to help golfers play pain-free and at their maximum potential.”

Former UNC-Wilmington golfer Megan Burnham, GolfForever’s executive administrator points to the collaborative culture James, Kaminer and the executive team have built as an ideal environment to hone career skills while living the dream of working in the golf industry. “There’s working in golf and then there’s working in an environment that lets you pursue your passions and develop with great mentors and that’s what we have,” Burnham said. “The greatest part of this job is meeting GolfForever clients and seeing how the platform brings them a better quality of life. We met a man who could barely walk before he started on GolfForever and now he plays every single day. It’s stories like that that keep us motivated to reach more people. We’re in a unique place in the industry.”

GolfForever’s plans to scale beyond its recent successes rely a great deal on the foresight and business acumen the dynamic professional women who have helped steer the company’s best practices and growth strategies. Today, the GolfForever Swing Trainer can be found in PGA Tour Superstore, Golf Galaxy, Dick’s and a host of the top golf retailers

in the game. Before Borkowski came into the picture, retail and wholesalepricing partnerships were just a pipe dream for the plucky startup. Giving Borkowski the freedom to build a retail sales program from the groundup has helped position GolfForever in a desirable niche in the marketplace, powering significant growth.

“The empowerment I’ve received at GolfForever wouldn’t have been possible in my previous roles at large, global sports companies,” she explains. “My experience, though, has me ideally suited to help us position our products and all the right places far more efficiently and easily than most startups ever could have. We thrive here because Dr. Jeremy James and our leadership insist on this being a family-first company with a meaningful mission.”

The sales experience and perspective on the consumer habits of golfers Costello has brought to GolfForever from her time at Acushnet has also been invaluable.

“The leadership and pivotal roles at golf companies have so often been filled by men because of assumptions about women’s inclination to start and raise families. At this company, we really nail the work-life balance proposition, and totally benefit from having people who can best thrive in their roles and collaborate well in this culture. All of our employees work remotely, so we’re mutually supportive of everyone’s personal and professional goals. It’s definitely one of GolfForever’s keys to success,” she adds.

Over the past 24 months, GolfForever has been soaring on jet fuel. All eight of Scottie Scheffler’s professional wins have come since he signed on as a GolfForever investor and TOUR Athlete. International golf star Tom Kim, two-time major winner and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson, and multipletournament winner on the PGA TOUR Ryan Palmer have all signed brand ambassador agreements with GolfForever. The brand has forged partnerships with countless golf associations, including Folds of Honor, Veteran Golfers Association and Golf Canada in addition to its cornerstone alliances with the PGA TOUR and the LPGA. The GolfForever teams’ eyes now shift toward plans to launch a certification program that would make an army of PGA club and teaching professionals qualified and motivated to their students the value of training with GolfForever.

As the brand continues to grow,

so does its staff. Earlier this year, GolfForever welcomed new Marketing Coordinator Celia Kuenster after Hage and Borkowski met her at the Women Who Want to Work in Golf event organized by Fore Hire, a company that connects women golfers from all competitive levels to jobs within the industry. Kuenster played collegiately at the University of Minnesota before completing her education at the University of Arizona in 2020. Her work with GolfForever has already taken her to the 2024 Ryder Cup in Rome and instilled her with a deeper passion for working in the golf industry.

“I love everything that golf encompasses including embracing the unique challenge that comes with communicating the benefits of GolfForever in a way that resonates with wherever a golfer is in their journey in the game. Our messages are constantly evolving by virtue of us paying close attention to what our clients tell us they want from the platform,” Kuenster explains. “As a job in the golf industry, it’s very cool that our leadership does a great job making our collective roles supportive and collaborative of each other.”

After its series of business triumphs and assembling of a board of investors that includes retired vice chairman at Goldman Sachs, Bob Hurst; top spinal surgeon, Dr. Todd Albert; Katie Rodan and Amnon Rodan of Rodan + Fields, GolfForever became attractive to New York-based Clerisy, a consumer growth equity fund who invested $10 million in the company to help ignite the fitness brand’s next chapter. Primed for continued growth and deeper saturation into the golfing culture, GolfForever is strategizing to become more accessible at more touch points with more advocates from the PGA professional ranks and throughout the industry.

“Our growth thus far is attributable to the combined talents of our team, including Stacy, Nicole, Kerri, Celia and Megan,” said Kaminer. “It’s their collective experiences, their networks, their connections that have built over multiple decades that are the tools in the toolkit that we’re ultimately using as our success formula. If we’re impacting tens and tens of thousands of people today, we need to impact hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people in a year from now and continue to deliver the right solution to the right individual at the right time. And we have an amazingly talented team in place to get there.”

39 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

Epson Tour Announces Another New Multi-Year Corporate Partnership  Innovative Partnership Approach with Callaway Golf Supports Both Athletes and Tour

The Epson Tour announced today another new multi-year corporate partnership beginning with the 2024 season. Leading global golf brand and manufacturer Callaway Golf is now an Official Partner of the Official Qualifying Tour of the LPGA through 2025.

“We are proud to announce Callaway Golf as a partner for the 2024 season and beyond,” said the Epson Tour’s Chief Business and Operations Officer Jody Brothers. “Our athletes deserve access to equipment and support from one of the very best brands in the industry, just as their male counterparts receive each week. Callaway Golf has delivered a compelling program that will benefit the entire Epson Tour and make the Road to the LPGA Tour that much more achievable.”

As a new Partner of the Epson Tour, Callaway Golf will provide toptier equipment, gloves, and highperformance golf balls for the athletes each week, for use in both competition and on practice grounds. The multiyear partnership will offer consistency in equipment for all athletes.

Golfer Céline Boutier joins the evian® family!

In this exciting year of sport, evian® is thrilled to welcome the French golf star and hydration champion among its newest ambassadors: Céline Boutier, ranked world n°31, and winner of the Amundi Evian Championship in 2023. evian® natural mineral water2, originating from the heart of the Alps, will team up with her on the golf course and in her daily life, highlighting the need to stay hydrated every day.

This year evian® reaffirms this promise by supporting a talented athlete: the golfer Céline Boutier. With a daily life characterised by sports, she is a true source of inspiration for all those wishing to cultivate their health and wellbeing. Perfectly aligning with the brand values, Céline fully embodies the “Live Young4” philosophy.

“Teaming up with evian® is a great honour for me. This partnership is all the more natural as healthy hydration is essential in an athlete’s routine. evian® natural mineral water brings all of its benefits not just to the body but also impacts the mindset, indispensably.” Céline Boutier

Golf Industry Veterans

Chivonne Wilson and Tom Funderburk Join Sun Mountain Sports

Sun Mountain Sports is excited to announce the addition of two Territory Sales Representatives: Chivonne Wilson in North Florida and Tom Funderburk in Oklahoma and Arkansas. These two experienced sales representatives will join Sun Mountain’s team of 40+ sales representatives who cover the USA and Canada from coast to coast. With a decade of experience in the golf industry representing a crosssection of premium golf product lines, Chivonne Wilson will represent Sun Mountain in the North Florida market. Tom Funderburk will represent Sun Mountain in the Oklahoma/Arkansas market. Funderburk boasts over 30 years of experience in the golf industry with many career achievements and rewards including being a past recipient of the South Central PGA Section Representative of the Year award.

“We are excited to have two talented professionals join our sales team and represent our high-performance Sun Mountain product line portfolio in bags, outerwear, carts and travel gear,” said Wes Whittingham, Sun Mountain National Sales Manager.

For the Sun Mountain retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit

40 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 golf central station

May 17 th -19 th 2024

Stay and Play for The Bahamas

Baha Mar is thrilled to announce the 2 nd Annual Baha Mar Resort Foundation Golf Invitational. There are several Stay-and-Play sponsorship opportunities available, benefiting philanthropic initiatives and organizations that make a difference to those most in need in The Bahamas.

For more information about Stay-and-Play packages please visit BAHAMAR.COM/FOUNDATIONGOLFTOURNAMENT

Cocktail Reception & Auction Golf Tournament Family Fun Day & Mini Golf FRIDAY MAY 17 SATURDAY MAY 18 SUNDAY MAY 19

The Effect of the El Nino Weather Pattern on Golf Courses

With clocks “springing” ahead, days lasting longer, and the sun beginning to peak out from behind the clouds, golfers around the country are rejoicing at the increase in opportunities to tee it up. This change in season has been especially welcome in the state of Florida where golfers and golf courses had to suffer through one of the cloudiest, coldest, and wettest winters yet. In fact, the central and southern regions of the state experienced their cloudiest winters since 1940 and 1941, respectively.

This unfriendly weather pattern is known as El Niño, a climate interaction linked to warming sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the jet stream is pushed south of its typical position, causing the southern half of the United States to experience cooler than normal temperatures, increased cloud cover, and a greater chance for precipitation.

The last time an El Niño pattern was present was the winter of 2018-2019. For the last four years a La Niña pattern has

been observed. This interaction has an opposite effect, meaning colder temperatures in the Pacific Ocean push the jet stream further north, creating drier and warmer conditions across the southern half of the country.

To understand more about El Niño and the effect it has had on golf courses in Florida we spoke with Darren Davis, the superintendent at Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples since 1991. Davis is a former President of the Golf Course Superintendents

Association of America (GCSAA) and has worked on the agronomy staff at Golden Eagle Country Club, Augusta National Golf Club, and The Loxahatchee Club.

As a result of the La Niña patterns, the weather in south Florida these last winters was exceptional. However, according to Davis, the reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures experienced this year resulted in turfgrass growth quickly and drastically declining in late November. This was especially true for Bermuda grass, the most commonly used surface in Florida, which requires sunlight and heat to flourish. Growth regulation was halted, the height of cut on greens and fairways was increased, and mowing frequency was reduced. This created the advantages of reduced stress, increased leaf tissue (which helps with photosynthesis), and deeper rooting. However, low levels of sunlight, cooler temperatures and moist conditions combined to weaken the plant and create a desirable habitat for pathogens, amplifying disease pressure this winter. Without sun a plant is unable to create food, and regardless of what inputs turfgrass managers provide or the management they perform, without sun, turfgrass does not survive.

So, what can golf courses do to counteract El Niño’s negative effects? During our interview, Davis informed us that the most important time to take action is actually the summer before an El Niño winter. “If you don’t look bad in the summer you’re not going to look good in the winter,” says Davis. By bad, the former GCSAA President means doing your cultural practices, “and it’s a necessary evil, for lack of a better word.” While aerification, verticutting, and top dressing among other things can create undesirable conditions for golfers, they instead cultivate the most desirable conditions for turfgrass growth. Superintendents implement all of these cultural practices in the summer to go in as healthy as they can in the winter when play is heaviest and turfgrass growth is limited.

42 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
florida state golf association florida state golf association florida state golf associ

Now that spring has begun, according to Davis, conditions are going to improve daily, so long as these cultural practices were performed last year. A number of courses are still looking at the scars of El Niño, and it will still be some time until they are fully recovered. But with more sunlight being added to the end of every day with that the winter solstice in the rear-view mirror, Davis tells us, “nutrients being applied to the course are finally released into the plants because of the increased sun exposure, ultimately resulting in increased photosynthesis, greener grass, and healthier golf courses.”

To those eagerly waiting for these improved conditions, Davis’s message is clear. “Be understanding and patient, and know that your superintendent is doing anything he or she can do to provide you with the best conditions. We’re all wired the same. My passion is to make people happy, give them a quality playing surface, and for people to have fun.” Golfers all around the state should be getting their game prepared because brighter, and greener, days are ahead.

43 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1
Join us as we tee-off for a lifesaving cause! 25 TH ANN U A L G O L F C L A S S I C A P RI L 15 , 2 0 2 4 • 7 :3 0 A M R E GI S TR AT IO N N O R T H PAL M BE A C H COU N T RY C L U B Chair: Marguerite Connelly • Honorary Chair: Johnny Pickett Benefiting: Substance use disorder recovery scholarships Inaugural Community Champion Award Presented to PBC Sheriff Ric Bradshaw Eliminate addiction through prevention, advocacy, treatment, and recovery support. OUR MISSION 561.268.2355 • •

PGA HOPE Kentucky Sends Two Teams to the 2024 Secretary’s Cup

PGA HOPE Kentucky is thrilled to have two teams competing in the 2024 Secretary’s Cup on May 13th at The University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Kentucky. The teams are comprised of Veterans and instructors from six of the nine PGA HOPE chapters across the CommonwealthFlorence, Frankfort, Lexington West, Louisville Metro South, Paducah, and Shelbyville.

Both eams had outstanding performances at the 2023 HOPE Cup at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in Louisville to qualify for the Secretary’s Cup. PGA HOPE Florence Lead Professional Ralph

Landrum, PGA, and his team - Joe Haner (Air Force), Robert Gilbert (Army), Christopher Kelley (Marines), and Bob O’Neill (Army), claimed first place in a scorecard playoff with a score of 6-under 30 in this nine-hole scramble event. The team of Trevor Thompson (Air Force), Hannah Byland (Navy), Bryon Clark (Army), John Luckett (Army), and PGA HOPE Shelbyville instructor Tommy Watts, PGA, took second after the scorecard playoff

with an identical round of 30.

“I am so excited for our two teams to have the opportunity to play in this wonderful event held at The University of Louisville Golf Club this month! Both teams will have the chance to experience something they have never been a part of before and for it to be on our own turf, it could not be more special for each of them,” expresses Foundation Coordinator Erin Rowland.

PGA HOPE Kentucky and the Kentucky PGA Section are honored to be hosting the 2024 Secretary’s Cup and wish the best of luck to each team from across the country who will be competing!

product showcase PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA K Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 44

The Allied Georgia Golf Associations (Georgia PGA, Georgia State Golf Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and Club Management Association of America) were invited to the Georgia State Capital on Wednesday, March 13 to be recognized on the House and Senate floors for the report conducted on the Economic Impact of Georgia’s Golf Industry.

The State of Georgia boasts a thriving golf industry that brings $5.3B worth of total economic impact to the “Peach State”. This includes $3.4B worth of direct economic activity from golf facilities

and golf-related businesses. Georgia golf encompasses 362 on-course golf facilities serving nearly 680,000 in-state golfers of which 170,000 avid golfers play 25+ rounds annually.

The golf business in Georgia is multi-faceted and represents many more participating industries compared to other golfaddicted states. Facilities selling rounds of golf and memberships

lead the way, while tourism, manufacturing, retail sales and major golf championships also play important roles in driving spending, tax revenues and job creation. While the last Golf Economic Impact study in Georgia was conducted approximately five years ago, the expansion of the sport, particularly during the Covid golf boom, is evident. Nearly every category has benefited from the robust growth golf has experienced, especially between 2020 and 2023. The focus of this research is to capture all golf-related economic impacts across every corner of Georgia for 2022.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PG 45

March Foundation Spotlight:

The Mirasol Fun Group’s Impact on Youth and Golf in South Florida

Founded on the basis of Fun, The Mirasol Fun Group has made golf more affordable and accessible for more than 100 South Florida PGA Junior Tour members.

What began more than 20 years ago as a group of members at The Country Club at Mirasol who banded together to secure tee times, play golf and establish new relationships, The Fun Group has evolved into much more.

Through its partnership with the South Florida PGA Foundation, The Fun Group established the Mirasol Assistance Fund in 2009 to serve the community through golf.

“When I first met Meredith Schuler [SFPGA Assistant Executive Director] and heard the story of the Foundation, I was overwhelmed by the need to do something, and our organization, The Fun Group, had funds that we felt could be beneficial to the Foundation,” recalled Arthur Rosen, founding member of The Fun Group.

The South Florida PGA Foundation is a non-profit

organization dedicated to serving the south Florida community and changing the lives of youth, military and families through the game of golf.

With the support of the SFPGA Foundation, the Mirasol Assistance Fund aims to financially support junior golfers in south Florida who have a desire to participate in the game of golf, but don’t have the means to do so.

Juniors apply for the scholarship annually, and, if approved, receive a reduced entry fee into SFPGA Junior Tour, presented

by Callaway and Toptracer tournaments. The Fun Group funds cover the remaining amount of the player’s entry.

The SFPGA Junior Tour has a membership of more than 1,200 junior golfers ages 6-18 and conducts more than 100 tournaments annually at some of south Florida’s most prestigious golf courses.

In its first year, the Mirasol Assistance Fund collected $3,500 to support nine Junior Tour members with 30 tournament entries.

“We donate small sums,” explained Rosen. “But they add up and make an impact in the end.”

Since the inception of the Mirasol Assistance Fund, The Fun Group has donated nearly $100,000 to the SFPGA Foundation, supporting over 100 Junior Tour members to play in more than 340 events.

Of the Junior Tour members that the Assistance Fund has helped, several have gone on to play golf at the collegiate level, a dream that might not have been possible without the generosity of Rosen, along with additional founding Fun Group partners Larry Feit, Matt and Dee Simpson.

As The Fun Group celebrates its 20th season, its charitable support continues to impact children and junior golf. The Fun Group is a shining example of how community, compassion and the love of golf can come together to create lasting change.

Click here to get involved with the Foundation and help us continue our mission of changing lives through the game of golf.

north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north 46 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 south florida PGA south florida PGA south florida PGA south florida PGA south fl PGA south flor South Florida Section

Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most iconic places in golf. Memorable moments are created each year, and this includes the moments from the 2024 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. Drive, Chip and Putt is a national junior golf initiative for boys and girls, ages 7 – 15. Juniors in each division hit three drives, three chips and three putts for a total score in local, sub-regional and regional qualifiers. The champions from the regional qualifiers get the chance to compete in the national finals at Augusta. This story begins for many right here in North Florida, where a new chapter unfolds as three of the brightest talents in the North Florida PGA competed at Augusta this year: Jyden Sonnabend from Windermere was in the Boys 14 – 15 division, Alyssa Sumulong from Orlando was in the Girls 12 – 13 division and Lily Wachter from Saint Augustine was in the Girls 10 – 11 division. Lily created her own storybook ending and won the Girls 10 – 11 division!

Three juniors from the North Florida PGA compete at the 2024 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals;


For Lily, she had experience from being a national finalist previously. She performed extremely well and earned the highest score possible of 10 points for the drive and chip. Her final score of 24 was good enough for the victory.

During an interview after winning, she said “it makes me feel great and I’ve accomplished a lot on my way here and I feel amazing, and just very accomplished. I feel very accomplished.”

It was thrilling to see Jyden, Alyssa and Lily all compete at

the national finals at Augusta! They showed tremendous poise during the event, and it was great to see the North Florida PGA represented so well.

For junior golfers, Drive, Chip and Putt serves as an inspiration to get involved with the game and continue their journey in golf. This is a journey we look forward to watching as many more juniors from the North Florida PGA dream of getting to Augusta.

To learn more about the North Florida PGA, visit

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north North Florida Section
Lily Wachter wins the Girls 10 – 11 2024 DCP Lily Wachter Photo credit: Drive, Chip & Putt 2024 DCP Jyden Sonnabend Photo credit: Drive, Chip & Putt 2024 DCP Alyssa Sumulong Photo credit: The Sumulong Family

Blue Delta Jeans, the Mississippibased bespoke denim company, continues to make waves with its strategic partnerships, extending its reach from the fairways to the racetracks. Building on its successful collaboration with The United States Ryder Cup Team, Blue Delta proudly announces its partnership with The Kentucky Derby ahead of its historic 150th Anniversary.

As an Official Team Supplier to the US Ryder Cup Team through 2025, Blue Delta solidifies its commitment to outfitting athletes, captains, and executives with bespoke denim of unparalleled quality. CEO Josh West expresses his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s an honor for us to partner with the US Ryder Cup Team, and we can’t wait to outfit the US Players, Captains, and PGA Executive Team again in a quality, bespoke jean made in the USA.”

In addition to its ongoing support of the Ryder Cup, Blue Delta is thrilled to be an Officially Licensed Product of the 2024 Kentucky Derby, the longest continual running sporting event in the US. With the Derby celebrating its 150th Anniversary, Blue Delta is poised to mark this milestone in style. Cofounder and COO Nick Weaver remarks, “We’re excited to mark a milestone while creating an unparalleled custom-tailored experience for the notoriously stylish Derby attendees.”

For the Derby’s 150th Anniversary, Blue Delta will design a one-of-a-kind commemorative pant incorporating the iconic Kentucky Derby logo and color palette, adding to the fashionable traditions synonymous with

Blue Delta Jeans Partnerships Reach from the Ryder Cup Fairways to the Kentucky Derby Racetrack

the event. Co-founder and CEO Josh West emphasizes the significance of this partnership, stating, “Fashion and hospitality have always been a major part of The Kentucky Derby and Blue Delta. We are honored to be part of this world-class event with such a storied past and an exciting future.”

Blue Delta Jeans embodies

Southern hospitality and craftsmanship, delivering an experience that goes beyond just denim. With thousands of satisfied customers, including celebrities, musicians, and athletes, Blue Delta offers men’s and women’s products tailored to fit any occasion. As Derby Week Racing kicks off on April 27th, Blue Delta Jeans stands ready to leave its mark on this prestigious event and beyond.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 48



Making a Difference On Marco Island

As high season began to wind down, Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island, Florida, was gearing up for a busy Gulf of Mexico spring break week, with members, families and friends streaming in to stay, perhaps play a little golf on the nine-hole executive golf course and celebrate Easter in subtropical style.

“We have 623 memberships,” said Tom Ryon, the gated community’s Director of Land and Environment, said in late March. This time of year, all their families and guests come down. For Easter, we have 800 people for reservations for Easter dinner on the books.”

All of those folks spent the holiday in one of South Florida’s most sustainable neighborhoods. Thanks to years of good, forward-

thinking, environmentally minded work by Ryon and his team, including Golf Course Superintendent Tyler Legan, Hideaway Beach recent earned its third Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf recertification from Audubon International. Its stewardship streak as a member of the respected, not-for-profit, third-party organization dates to 2012, but Ryon says his employer of 23 years is always striving to deepen its commitment to sustainability on the golf course and beyond, starting with its chief geographical element: water.

“We’re right on the coast, with two miles of beach. Our drainage system works by releasing overflow

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 50

water to the Gulf — it’s part of our master permit when it was designed in 1979. We’ve taken the extra steps of water quality, and we have a flap gate that determines how much it’s released. We are working on updating our drainage plan, getting it back into better compliance with our master permit. We’re very cognizant of that.”

Ryon points out other waterconscious measures for the golf course, with more on the way. “We have a recycling station so we’re constantly reusing that water–it’s not being wasted. We’ve gone those extra steps for sustainability. We’re looking at a possible golf course redesign in 2025, and we’re already looking at irrigation systems. How can we better regulate so we can reduce our water usage, fertilizer usage? We know where we’re located–it’s ecologically sensitive and we want to make sure we’re not doing anything to harm the environment around us.”

The larger environment includes the protected wetlands and forest of a state park, but within its gates, the Hideaway Beach Club continues to welcome wildlife and keep as much of its area as protected as possible.

“We have 142 acres of conservation area,” Ryon says. “We had a company come out this year and remove exotics from about eight acres of it. And due to the lack of rain this year, they’re coming back next summer and replanting with natives in that area. Houses here must have a minimum of 40% native vegetation when they build or replant.”

As for wildlife, he continues, “We have mangrove stands, so we

make sure that animals have their place. We had a bear roam through our property. We have coyotes down here. We have bobcats on property, raccoons, quite a bit of wildlife that we protect.”

Kelsey King, Audubon International Environmental Program Specialist, visited Hideaway Beach Club earlier this year as its application for recertification neared completion. “It was a great experience,” she said. “The club was impacted significantly by the last two hurricanes, but the damage was quickly mitigated. I was happy to hear how the club strives to maintain a beautiful course for their members while providing an excellent habitat for the island’s unique wildlife, and to learn about their site assessments for the surrounding lots. It’s a great way to promote a healthy habitat for local wildlife, ensuring that protected species (i.e., Gopher tortoise – a threatened keystone species in Florida) have a safe place to thrive.”

King’s visit was most welcome. “Their site visits are important

because they get to see what courses are actually doing. And it’s great working with them. They’ve sent us signs to post [around the property] announcing that we’re Audubon International Certified. We include their logo on our emails. It’s important for our membership people out in the world to know what we’re doing, and the work it takes to be certified.”

Audubon International, an environmentally focused non-profit organization, offers members numerous certifications and conservation initiatives to protect the areas where we live, work, and play. Their certifications are designed to increase environmental awareness, encourage sustainable environmental efforts, and educate both their members and their communities.

To learn more about how your local golf course can gain recognition for your environmental efforts and learn how to expand your initiatives through Audubon International’s numerous environmental certifications, visit

51 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

GCSAA’s Rounds 4 Research online auction is open to preview great rounds of golf at more than 1,100 courses

Preview rounds today, bidding is open April 22-April 28

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Rounds 4 Research program offers golfers the opportunity to bid on rounds of golf at bucket list courses to hidden gems in their backyard. The 2024 course lineup includes rounds at Pinehurst No. 2, Bandon Dunes, Paradise Valley Country Club, Happy Hallow Club, Nanea Golf Club, Old Memorial Golf Club, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Sutton Bay and many more.

Golfers can preview rounds today at The 2024 Rounds 4 Research auction features courses in 43 states plus the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica and Switzerland. Rounds are added daily, so golfers are encouraged to check back often.

Rounds 4 Research is presented in partnership with The Toro company. The program enables the GCSAA Foundation to support local GCSAA Chapters and the national GCSAA to fund critical advocacy, turf grass research, education and community outreach improving the long-term sustainability of the game ensuring golfer enjoyment now and into the future. Since its inception, the program has raised more than $3 million.

“Rounds 4 Research is a unique opportunity for golfers to help golf course superintendents continue to deliver great playing conditions and keep the game of golf sustainable for future generations” said Rhett Evans, chief executive officer of GCSAA.

“The success of this program is based on the tremendous work of our GCSAA Members, staff, Chapter leaders and the generous support of the over 1,100 facilities who have donated rounds.”

Visit the Foundation at

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 52

Without the golf course, there is no game or business of golf!

Your donations support critical research, advocacy, and best management practices, enabling your superintendent team to deliver great playing conditions and keep your facility as a good community neighbor.


Every donation makes an impact.

Learn more at

A Turf Pirate's Journal $ Making Memories $

Greetings Turf Pirates and welcome to the start of another golf season. Azaleas are blooming, the grass is green, and we are stepping at full speed into another season. A season full of opportunity and of course challenges. I was at the midpoint of my career when a mentor pointed out how important it was in every season, but especially Spring, to be in the moment and truly take in the memories. Great memories of perfect weather, flowers in bloom, golf tournaments and the course coming back to life after a long winter. It took me a few more years but eventually I expanded this notion of being in the moment and being aware of how blessed we are to work in this industry to start making moments and enhancing the experiences on and around the golf course and club. We are tasked each year it seems to accomplish more with less and the stress of growing high quality turf grass is real and well documented. However, there is a lot of fun to be had along the way. I was traveling recently with a regional General Manger who is over six clubs and he said, “if we

can’t have fun why bother.” Yes, we must meet the expectations agronomically and financially, but this strikes at the very core of what the Ancient and Honorable Tribe of Turf Pirates is all about, and that is to add a bit of fun along the way. Official Turf Pirate Rule #36 says, “Have Fun” (well as veteran Turf Pirates know it is more like a suggestion, we as Turf Pirates do not always do well with rules). To get the work done and still have some serious fun requires an eye for the moment and an understanding of whether we are winning or losing and if a good laugh may just be the best medicine. Which brings us to this month’s photo. I took the photo, and it is of the legendary Stone Mountain Golf Club maintenance staff from somewhere around 10+ years ago. Current Director of Grounds, Matt Park, and a few other legends such as Jim “Golden Wrench” Suart, Jimmy “Uncle Money” Fann, Julie “where is the Invoice” Towe and one of last guys hired back in the day by my Uncle Joe Bolton Rusty (Irrigation Legend) Boone are all in the photo. Did you happen to notice the classic rabbit ears in the

front row? The muse of the photo was that we had removed several palm trees from the resort, and we were adding bunker sand to the bunkers on the Lakemont course when at lunch time it became clear that we could quickly create a mini-beach scene at the shop and get an epic staff photo. It was fun and it captured a moment in time. We were very much a family at Stone Mountain and now as I look at the faces, I realize that several have passed on. I reflect on what they all meant to me then and now. These folks were the operation at Stone Mountain. The ask this month Turf Pirates is to bring a little fun and light heartedness to your operations this season. Spring is about rebirth and potential. Work hard, handle the business but when you see a chance to play a few golf holes after work, grab an epic staff photo, grill out burgers for the staff or do what seems most meaningful and fun to your team, do it! How many Springs do we have left? No one knows for sure, but the key is to make the most of each one. Until next time Turf Pirates may the grass always be greener on your side of the fence.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 54 By
L. Williams, CGCS, CGM, MG
SMGC Crew march 2014

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PTI Golf Completes SOX Erosion Solutions Project On Five Lakes at Alta Mesa Golf Club

PTI Golf, a Certified Service Provider for SOX Erosion Solutions, recently completed installation of the SOX product in five lakes throughout the Alta Mesa Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona.

A high-tech system, SOX Erosion Solutions, is starting to make headway in the golf industry battling lake erosion. Based in Florida and active in the southeast for two decades, SOX recently expanded to the southwest by partnering with PTI Golf, a golf construction, landscaping and maintenance company serving the southwestern United States for over 30 years. This was PTI’s first official installation of the highly successful SOX program.

“We were very pleased with the outcome,” said PTI’s Sam Wolfe, who headed up the project. “We installed over 5,000 linear feet in five lakes, a big job for our first go-round. It worked out well, and Alta Mesa will reap the benefits

#5 Complete

for many years to come.”

Alta Mesa is a private club that offers an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Dick Phelps. He incorporated eight lakes on the gently rolling 160acre course that extends to 7,127 yards. Over the years, natural

erosion has created issues along the lake edges, and after considering many options, Alta Mesa management settled on SOX.

“The SOX solution really provides a natural look to the lake edges,” said Mike Molten, Golf Course Superintendent

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 56
#5 SOX Install
#5 Before

at Alta Mesa. “There is a nice subtle transition down to the water surface as opposed to the artificial look with the traditional erosion treatment programs. It is also very stable. We did five of the lakes this go around, and after seeing the finished product, most of our members said, ‘Why didn’t you do all of them?’ We’re very pleased with the end result.”

SOX Erosion Solutions is the developer AND manufacturer of this bioengineered living shoreline system. The SOX systems are made with a high density, polyethylene, knitted technical mesh. Because the system is knitted, plants, sod and vegetation can take root right through the material without damaging it. Water can infiltrate and exit, allowing the vegetation to flourish. SOX is the only such knitted solution in the marketplace.

Here’s how it works:

First the crew does an analysis of the area, and then develops a restoration plan. Anchors are positioned and staggered. The bottom portion of the Sox is staked, and then the top is rolled over like a taco and filed with organic material that will help wick in moisture from water in the lake. The ends of the material are sewn shut. The top is then staked off and the material is covered with sod, vegetation and/or plants, providing immediate stabilization.

After it all settles in, what’s left is a beautiful lake bank with protection against erosion.

“The final SOX product is aesthetically beautiful, but it is also a very powerful defender against future erosion,” said George Deussen of SOX Erosion Solutions. “There is not another method available that captures all of that. It’s a pretty significant departure from traditional methods, which usually involves some type of hard material like concrete, and a bladder system. It’s not stable and it’s not a great fit with Mother Nature.

“Our system is about mitigation; about defending the bank from future erosion. This is a longterm solution, creating an active, living, breathing shoreline.”

One other big advantage of the SOX system is that the installation process is far less intrusive than traditional erosion repair.

“We were operating throughout

the 10 weeks during active play,” said Wolfe. “But with SOX, we’re not bringing out massive cement trucks, or having to drain lake to basically nothing. The SOX installation makes a small footprint, allowing the golf course to generate revenue, with golfers playing all around us while we worked.”

Nate Watkin of SOX, who was

involved in the project, was pleased with PTI’s work and is excited about the future of the relationship.

“The PTI crew was fantastic,” he said. “They were never afraid to reach out for help if they needed it. Sam Wolfe took the lead and he was awesome. We couldn’t be happier to have them working with us out west. The future is bright.”

57 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

Spring Into Football: Discovering Neyland Stadium’s Latitude 36® Bermudagrass Advantage

In the quest for a bermudagrass variety that thrives in the East Tennessee climate, the University of Tennessee selected Latitude 36® for Neyland Stadium in May 2018 for its adaptability and color retention. This decision came after extensive research into various bermudagrass types. The priority was finding a new grass variety that would retain its greenness

throughout the seasons for the football stadium and practice field.

The University of Tennessee’s Director of Sports Surface Management, Darren Seybold, shared insights into the benefits observed since the switch to

Latitude 36® and explained why it’s his favorite bermudagrass variety. “Over the past six years, we’ve gotten comfortable with it. We know what it can and can’t take. We’re in the first week of March and our non-overseeded grass has already started to green up. It goes into dormancy for us a lot later too, which helps a lot as our football season continues to grow. Because of the playoffs, we understand that’s gonna be a big commitment for us to stay greener longer.”

He said the athletes and coaches are complimentary about how the field looks and performs.

Seybold highlighted the crew’s intensive fall turf management strategy, focusing on aggressive mowing, sweeping for thatch removal and minimal overseeding, as preferred by the coaching staff. “We’ve learned that if we can broom it in the fall and get that little bit of thatch out, it (the color) lasts longer. We just did it today on our practice fields and just getting that old material out, there’s so much green popping back through. We top dress more than most and mow it to a half inch.”

The grass’s dark green hue and fine texture boost Neyland

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1 58

Stadium’s aesthetic appeal and satisfy the functional demands of a high-quality sports field, ensuring it remains visually appealing for back-to-back games. “That’s just a big factor when you have millions of eyes on you every weekend, just to have that knowledge in your head that you’re going to be fine.”

Seybold explained that the athletes don’t have to worry about the field, knowing they will have a stable playing surface

each week and can make cuts or fast movements with no issues on the Latitude 36.

In addition to loving Latitude 36 for its playability and recovery from game-day wear and tear, the grass’s resilience was tested inside Neyland Stadium during a Garth Brooks concert in November 2019 and again when fans stormed the field after upsetting Alabama in October 2022. They didn’t resod the field after either instance. Seybold

said aside from repairing a patch of grass a woman cut out of the field following the Alabama defeat, they just aerified and swept Neyland for the game the next weekend.

Seybold has worked at the University of Tennessee for 14 years and said he gives all the credit to his team of dedicated people.

Latitude 36®, developed by Oklahoma State University, stands out for its cold hardiness, high traffic tolerance and exceptional tensile strength, making it an ideal selection for the rigorous demands of collegiate sports. Learn more at

For more insights and an in-depth look at the Latitude 36 at Neyland Stadium, scan the QR code below to hear what Seybold had to say about the grass in the fall of 2018:

59 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 1

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