In Their Own Words - SofTrak Greens

By Casey BiererJanuary 6, 2006, 5:00 pm
A Conversation with Danny Little
VersaSport International, LLC ( (SofTrak Greens) was originally founded in 1998 by Lance Pierce. At the time the company was founded, Lance was a mechanical engineer with Boeing in Wichita, Kansas. He was an avid golfer and he began looking for alternative ideas for a business he could start. Danny Little was a bank president in a small town in southwest Missouri. Danny was an avid golfer as well. Danny became frustrated losing five dollar bets to his golf buddies and decided he was going to do something about it. Danny started to research synthetic greens and came across SofTrak. Lance personally installed Dannys green and a friendship resulted. Danny became so enthralled with the product that he opened his own SofTrak dealership and hired a couple of people to work for him. Together, Lance and Danny invested in a new building for the home office in Wichita. Soon thereafter, Danny purchased a controlling interest in the company with Lance remaining as the companys president. Danny admits its a corny storyhe liked the product so much he bought the company.
SofTrak currently has 70 dealers located across the United States and internationally. They have a dealer in Asia, two dealers in Europe, a dealer in Canada and a dealer was just added in the Virgin Islands.
Casey / Q:
Tell me, Danny, about the technology used in your greens system.
Softrak Greens
Danny / A:
SofTrak uses a slightly softer version of turf than many of our competitors use. It has certain advantages and certain disadvantages but we think the overall advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It takes a little while longer for the turf itself to get up to speed when it is first installed. It will take a little bit more rolling initially, but, we think the final product is better. We use a 5700 denier yarn - that basically has to do with the thickness of the turf - and that turf has less memory than what a thicker version of the product which is basically a 7600 denier that most of the rest of the industry uses. Again, it takes a longer rolling process to get the tips to lie over and to get the memory to stay in place. If you roll it just once it will tend to pop back up. If you roll it twice it will stay down longer and so on. The other types of yarns might bend over and stay bent over so consequently, over time, the green will roll faster and faster. The 7600 denier greens are easy to roll and get up to speed initially, but, over time, at least with our experience and experiments with that type of turf, eventually, they get too fast. With the 5700 denier product, a softer material that doesnt have quite as much memory, it will tend to be more adjustable. If you want a faster speed you can roll it more often. If you want it to slow up you can brush it and it will tend to keep its speed down a little bit.
Casey / Q:
So the speed is adjustable, like on a natural turf green?
Danny / A:
The speed is easily adjustable between a nine and eleven on the Stimpmeter. The nice thing about it is you can get it to roll as fast as you want or you can slow it up if you want to. To slow up the green you just run a soft bristle brush against it. You can make it emulate a Bermuda green if you want to. If you want a little more grain in the product you can broom it up a little bit. If you want it to react like a fast Bent grass green you just need to roll it a few time before you putt.
Casey / Q:
What are the critical elements to a synthetic green?
Danny / A:
The most critical part of green design and green building is the in-fill. To my knowledge, we are the only in-fill putting green vendor in the world that uses a proprietary in-fill product that the dealers are required to use in whatever SofTrak putting green that they install. Many of the companies will allow the dealers to acquire their own in-fill locally so theres no consistency between one green and another. A green installed by a company in California will putt differently and take shots differently than one installed in Minnesota, for example. All of our in-fill material comes out of one plant location in Texas. Its specifically graded to a certain size module so that all the in-fill materials are uniform and clean so it will not pack hard and compress over time. Some companies just use whatever local sand they can put their hands on which tends to be angular in nature and so it will compact and get hard over time. In the early days of the industry that was one of the most common complaints about in-fill greens; that they would be very nice for the first few months but then they would get hard as concrete over time so if you hit a ball in to them the ball would bounce just like it was a concrete surface.
Casey / Q:
Whats different about the in-fill material you use?
Danny / A:
We use perfect round quartz that is graded to a certain measurement. Its just like a jar of marblesyou know if you stick your hand in a jar of marbles they will all move around and you can get your hand all the way to the bottom of the jar. But, if you had a jar of jagged angular small stones they would tend to compact and you wouldnt be able to put your hand all the way down through it. We also use proprietary topdressing that is an acrylic version of the same in-fill material that we use on the bottom layer. And it creates a lubricated effect so it also adds additional shot acceptance and stability to the green and helps give it that rich, deep green color when the green is finished out.
Casey / Q:
What about wear-and-tear on these greens?
Danny / A:
We have materials and systems in place to give the greens additional UV protection and restore greens that get aged. We can actually go out and refurbish a green and make it look like a brand new green. We have some very sophisticated techniques for refurbishing greens and our dealers offer that as a service to our customers as well. If a customer doesnt take care of their green the way we suggest, we have a system in place that allows our dealers to go out and put them back in brand new condition. The nice thing about our greens is you can neglect the heck out of it and we can usually revive it to virtually new condition.
Casey / Q:
Whats the attraction for golfers and homeowners to get in to synthetic greens?
Danny / A:
I think one of the primary reasons is they just make such a beautiful addition to a backyard. But then its very functional also because its something the entire family and your friends can enjoy. The one in my backyard, my wife and my grandkids that live next door to me and even my mother-in-law use it all the time. More than me, in fact. It becomes like a gathering place in summertime on nice warm days. My wife may be out chipping around the green and before you know it the grandkids see her out there and theyre out there with their putters and wedges just having a great time. It can also become the focal point for a whole backyard landscaping scene as well. I had quite a barren backyard. I was a banker and wanted to spend as much time as I could on the golf course, not doing yard work. The next thing I know I put a golf green in and then put in all the beautiful supporting landscaping around it to make the green look as pretty as we could. Its an attraction for serious golfers that want to work on their short games in the ten or fifteen minutes that they have in the evenings or on a weekend. But, its also a great learning tool for youth golfers and golfers just starting out. I know my granddaughter and grandson have seen great improvements in their golf games, especially their short games since I added that green to my backyard. I hear the same story from all over the country from customers.
Casey / Q:
What about just a putting green versus creating an entire short game area?
Danny / A:
Most of our greens feature a fringe area around the green that people can practice their bump-and-runs. The majority of our dealers also have the ability to install hitting stations anywhere in the yard the customer wants. And also, to install practice bunkers. Youre really only limited by the amount of space you have and your imagination. Weve installed greens all the way from a putting green in a screened-in patio to full-fledged replica greens on large estates. One of my very good friends built a replica of the number 14 hole on the King and The Bear course in St. Augustine thats a 6,500 sq. ft. green that has a lake beside itand hes set up tee boxes around the lake from 80 yards all the way up to 230 yards. He only lives a mile from me and you can bet I go hang out there a lot. On his green, you can back the ball up with a wedge shot and it will also hold a shot with a 3-iron from 200 yards. Its amazing how realistic the greens will take a shot. Weve gone so far as to replace the original Bent grass greens on a small nine-hole course in Branson, Missouri with our SofTrak greens. We did an 8,000 sq. ft. green and a 5,000 sq. ft. green this year for the Payne Stewart Memorial Complex at the First Tee Program in Golden, Missouri. Its a wonderful facility where children can go to camp and learn about golf and this year was the first year of having this facility open.
Casey / Q:
What are the economics involved in a synthetic green like SofTrak?
Danny / A:
Your upfront costs will be a little higher on a synthetic putting green. But, what most people find is theyre not able to keep up with the financial commitment or the technology commitment to maintain a natural turf putting green and keep it alive and keep it to the quality that they need to enjoy it compared with the small amount of money it takes to maintain a synthetic putting green.
A very wealthy businessman here in Wichita had about an 8,000 sq. ft. natural turf green in his backyard complete with a greens keeper to keep the green alive and rolling smoothly. It got to where he couldnt spend enough time to keep it alive in the summertime so we ended up putting in one of our greens. Thats an example of a guy who had money to burn and even so he couldnt keep up with the demands of a natural turf green.
Casey / Q:
What kind of regular maintenance is involved for a home synthetic green?
Danny / A:
Typically, once a green is installed, you just need to keep the debris cleaned off of the green. You can clean it with a power blower, and then just an occasional brushing with a broom is all that is required to keep the green looking like new. Every couple of years we do advise that you allow a dealer to come and perform a detailed maintenance on the green. We take one of our special power brooms and clean all the built up dirt and dust off the turf and then we apply a new coat of topdressing.
Casey / Q:
Should you winterize synthetic greens?
Danny / A:
No, theres no real reason to worry about winterizing these greens. Just let the snow fall as it does naturally and melt away naturally.

Casey / Q:
Youve had quite a few PGA Tour stars use your greens.
Danny / A:
I recently sponsored an event for some of our customers and contest winners to play a round of golf with Bruce Lietzke in Dallas. And Bruce is a real straight forward, great guy. He had a green at his house from another company that is no longer in the business and Bruces brother Dwayne referred Bruce to us to check out our product. So we went in and replaced his existing green with one of our greens. The reason he put it in initially, I think, was that his son was, at the time, involved with junior golf and he wanted to give his son a better opportunity to get in more short game practice. The comment that I heard Bruce make to the people who were at the outing was that synthetic greens, in his opinion, dont get much better than the one we installed for him. He was also very complimentary about how easy the green was to maintain. He drew a comparison between the way our synthetic green rolled and how a lot of the greens on tour play. Thats a pretty nice thing for him to say. Bruce also referred our product to his own sister who has a son who plays competitive golf. I think that speaks volumes about our product that Bruce would refer it to one of his own family members.
We have had a similar experience with Rich Beem. We replaced a green he had with one of our greens. And you know Rich is a pretty funny guy. When we were done he said our green was way sexier. And he has let me know on several occasions how much he and his wife and son enjoy the green. Rich has also told quite a few friends about our product. And this kind of word-of-mouth coming from a top tour player is very encouraging for us.
Now, Im not mentioning these guys as endorsers of our product. Im just saying who we have installed greens for. But, we have put in greens for quite a few of the best players in the world and lets face it they can select any green they want. So I look at it like a validation of the quality of our product and the service we give.
Casey / Q:
Whats your take on the state of the synthetic green industry?
Danny / A:
Im very excited about and optimistic about the future of the synthetic green business across the country. There are many good companies out there; there are many good installers and many good dealers. Of course, Im partial to the product we put out at SofTrak Greens. There are variations in synthetic product just like there are different qualities for every product we use. We have a nylon offering in our line and there are some select situations where a less expensive, lower performance nylon product might make more sense. Of course, I believe strongly in a quality in-fill green, like SofTrak, because I think theyre more realistic, perform better over the long haul, easier to keep cleanjust a better product overall. So much of our business boils down to the quality of your installer. A really good installer can take a lesser quality product and make it look good. A poor installer can take the best product in the world and make it look not so good. I like to think we combine the best materials and technology with the best installation skill.
Casey / Q:
Any final words of advice for people considering a synthetic green?
Danny / A:
My advice to anyone considering a synthetic green is to do your research, do your homework, when you look at dealers that will be putting in your green. We only allow our greens to be installed by highly trained professionals that have been trained to work with our product. I can assure you, this makes a big difference in the final equation.
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Monday Scramble: Just getting started

By Will GrayJanuary 22, 2018, 4:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood dazzles, Jon Rahm outlasts, Phil Mickelson falters, Rory McIlroy starts the year on the right foot and more in this week’s edition of Monday Scramble:

He didn't hit a single shot on Sunday, but the biggest winner of the weekend may have been Thomas Bjorn.

That's because the burly Dane watched one potential European Ryder Cup stud after another either lift a trophy or show significant signs of promise.

First it was Sergio Garcia cruising to victory in Singapore, then Tommy Fleetwood's stirring rally in Abu Dhabi. By the time Jon Rahm finished off the CareerBuilder Challenge in the waning daylight, the European skipper likely had a grin plastered from ear to ear.

There will be countless ebbs and flows of momentum before the first shot is struck at Le Golf National, but this week proved once again that the Americans won't be the only ones sporting some serious depth at the biennial matches.

1. The most dazzling display Sunday came from Fleetwood, who successfully defended his title in Abu Dhabi thanks to an absolutely unconscious back nine.

The Englishman was five shots back when he made the turn, but six birdies over his final nine holes turned that deficit into a two-shot win.

It was in Abu Dhabi last year that he sparked a career turnaround, winning the event en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. He turned up once again this year with ample confidence and a new wedding ring, and the results were much the same.

He doesn't have the star power of some of his contemporaries, but it's becoming increasingly clear that Fleetwood can more than hold his own against even the best in the game.

2. Hours before Fleetwood caught fire, it was Garcia rolling to a five-shot win in Singapore to complete the transition from tournament headliner to tournament champion.

Garcia was just days removed from his 38th birthday and making his first start with a full bag of Callaway clubs. But he showed no signs of offseason rust or equipment adjustment while capturing his second worldwide win since slipping into his green jacket.

The Spaniard has certainly enjoyed the fruits of his Masters victory nine months ago, but it's apparent that he has no plans to rest on the laurels of last spring.

3. He didn't leave Abu Dhabi with the trophy, but McIlroy may have found something more lasting: confidence.

It was in his first start last year that McIlroy injured his rib and plummeted into a vicious cycle of attempted rehabs and ill-fated comebacks. This time around, he came out of the gates with a relaxed swagger en route to a tie for third.

As Ryan Lavner wrote, it was an ideal beginning to a big year for McIlroy, who has already offered up the notion that 2018 could be the busiest season of his career as he chases the final leg of the career Grand Slam and a return to golf's upper echelon.

After the first leg of a two-week stay in the Middle East, that plan is off to a promising start.

4. Let's take a moment to marvel at McIlroy's record in Abu Dhabi, where he has done everything but win the tournament.

In his last nine appearances, McIlroy has finished fifth or better eight times. That stretch includes four runner-up results and now two straight T-3 finishes.

There remain two equally remarkable factors to McIlroy's run: the fact that he somehow hasn't managed to lift the trophy (yet), and the lone outlier: a missed cut in 2013 after his celebrated switch to Nike.

5. With darkness rapidly encircling the Coachella Valley, Rahm managed to shake off Andrew Landry and capture his second career PGA Tour victory.

Rahm's 20-foot birdie on the fourth playoff hole proved the difference in Palm Springs, where he entered as the highest-ranked player in the field and supported that status with his stout play.

Rahm barely took his foot off the gas, both across the difficult closing stretch at PGA West and during the playoff when he sent one approach after the next hurtling toward the pin. It's the fourth worldwide win in less than a year for Rahm, who continues to outpace even the rosiest of projections for his burgeoning career.

6. The win moves Rahm past Jordan Spieth to world No. 2, making him the fourth-youngest player to ever reach such heights.

One year ago, the Spaniard was ranked 137th in the world. His win at the Farmers Insurance Open the following week altered his trajectory, and he now finds himself only one rung away from the top of the ladder.

While so much focus has been (deservedly) heaped upon players like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, perhaps it's Rahm who has the best chance to eventually unseat world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. He'll have a chance to chip into that deficit this week as he defends his title at Torrey Pines.

7. Speaking of Torrey Pines, it's officially Farmers Insurance Open week which means that Tiger Woods watch is about to kick off in earnest.

It's something of a tradition to see Woods strolling the fairways of the South Course, where he has won eight times including the 2008 U.S. Open. But this week will bring heightened expectation following Woods' better-than-anticipated return from injury last month at the Hero World Challenge.

Granted, Torrey Pines is a far cry from the forgiving fairways of Albany. But if Woods is able to put together two solid rounds and make the cut, it should be seen as a step in the right direction.

Of course, for all of Woods' success in San Diego, it's also the place where he struggled with chipping yips prior to a withdrawal in 2015 and missed the cut last year in his final official PGA Tour start of the year. So his results this time around might be anyone's guess.

Ken Duke is one of the bona fide nice guys on Tour, and he proved it this weekend in Palm Springs.

Duke is playing off past champion status this season, and he unsuccessfully petitioned tournament officials at the CareerBuilder Challenge for a sponsor invite. With 156 players in the field, Duke was the odd man out at No. 157 and relegated to first alternate status.

He didn't get into the tournament proper, but Duke was willing to step in when Corey Pavin's first Tour start since 2015 ended with a withdrawal after just 17 holes. Because of the tournament's pro-am format, Pavin's amateur partner was left without a pro for the next two rounds.

So in came Duke to play what amounted to a 36-hole pro-am, an effort of good faith to help an event that couldn't find room for him at the start of the week:

It's not often you see a pro compete where his score only counts for his amateur partner. But such was Duke's situation this week, and kudos to him for handling it with class.

This week's award winners ...

Unusually Short Stay: Phil Mickelson. Lefty has become a regular in Palm Springs, but three shaky rounds left him with his first missed cut in this event since 1994 - a few months before Rahm was born.

Nice Job, Kid: Sungjae Im. The 19-year-old Korean joined Jason Day as the only two teenagers to win on the Tour, as Im shot a final-round 65 to win the season opener in the Bahamas.

A for Effort: Andrew Landry. Landry put up a stellar fight in Palm Springs, holing a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and going shot-for-shot with Rahm for nearly an hour. He came up short in his effort to win for the first time, but Landry certainly has plenty of positive takeaways from his week in the desert.

On the Disabled List: Brooks Koepka. The reigning U.S. Open champ is out for the next couple months because of a torn ligament in his wrist, with hopes of returning before the Masters. The diagnosis comes after Koepka finished last at both the Hero World Challenge and Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Still the Bridesmaid: Ross Fisher. The Englishman now has 14 runner-up finishes on the European Tour after he coughed up a late lead to Fleetwood. It's been a resurgent year for Fisher, including nine top-10s and three runner-ups in his last six starts. But he's still looking for his first win in nearly four years.

More Euro Momentum: Not to be outshone by Fleetwood and McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick (T-3) and Thomas Pieters (T-5) both started the year on the right foot in Abu Dhabi. Both men were at Hazeltine two years ago, and expect one (or both) to factor on the team in Paris this fall.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Bill Haas. A two-time winner and the all-time leading money-winner in Palm Springs, Haas never factored and eventually missed the cut. Honorable mention here goes to 2014 champ Patrick Reed who also stayed home on Sunday.

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Rosaforte Report: Landry's grit born in a Pea Patch

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 22, 2018, 3:40 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: The birthplace of Andrew Landry's grit, Tiger's former coach invites instruction debate, downtime may be good for Brooks Koepka, Stacy Lewis is amped for 2018, and a "very boring" birthday gift for Jack Nicklaus.

The beauty and drama of tournament golf played out in the California desert on Sunday when Andrew Landry, a journeyman who learned the game on a shabby nine-hole course called the Pea Patch in Port Groves, Texas, took the hottest young player in the game, Jon Rahm, to four holes of a sudden death playoff before finally succumbing. It was riveting drama in a yard-for-yard, stride-for-stride and putt-for-putt contrast that ended with the sun setting over the Santa Rosa Mountains.

With it, the 23-year-old Rahm went to No. 2 in the world and the 30-year-old Landry, a grinder finally off the Tour, moved from 184th to a career high 102nd in the world ranking.

The 5-foot-7 Landry, who had his “Tin Cup” moment in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he held the first-round lead and hung with the big boys until a T-15 finish, never backed off in the shadow of the 6-foot-2 Rahm, just as he never backed away from bets in the Tuesday and Saturday games at the Pea Patch. That’s where he would write his name on the chalkboard for the “Dog Fights” that were the club’s version of the SWAT competition that is an Oakmont tradition.

“Those money games are what made us,” Andrew’s brother, Adam, told me the day his sibling became the proverbial no-name leader after shooting the lowest opening round (66) in U.S. Open-Oakmont history.

Andrew Landry lost his money game to Rahm, but his second-place finish still paid out $637,200, putting him over the $1 million mark for the season, and sending him off to the Farmers Insurance Open with a message that this isn’t the last time we’ll hear from him.

“We’ll take it and move on to Torrey Pines,” Landry said before exiting Palm Springs. “It’s obviously a great course for me. I’m driving the ball really well and I’m doing everything really good, so we’ll try again next week.”

GREAT(S) DEBATES: Chris Como may not be Tiger Woods’ teacher anymore, but he was recently appointed director of instruction at Dallas National, one of the plush practice environments in golf. He is also architect of an interesting forum on the mental game and the philosophy of instruction Tuesday at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., which features Claude Harmon III, David Leadbetter, Jim McLean, Mike Adams, Fran Pirozzolo, Hal Sutton, Brad Faxon and Brandel Chamblee.

“It’s an event that invited open dialog and debate about all the topics of golf instruction,” Como said in a text message. “The goal is to put a bunch of smart people in the same room together to move our industry forward in a positive direction.”

This should be entertaining dialog, especially coming two days before Tiger makes his comeback at the Farmers.

Stacy Lewis at the 2017 LPGA Cambia Portland Classic

STACY'S SPARK: On the week when she was named winner of the Ben Hogan Award for overcoming scoliosis, Stacy Lewis did what Hogan epitomized – she doggedly continued to work on her game.

Heading into her 10th season on the LPGA tour and facing her 33rd birthday on Feb. 16, Lewis flew from Houston to Florida, on her way to the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, for checkups with instructor Joe Hallett and performance coach Dave Donatucci.

After workouts and an evaluation at his gym, Donatucci noted the veteran’s vertical leap was 2 inches higher than she’s ever jumped before. “Physically, she’s in a great place,” Donatucci said. Mentally, she is in a great place as well, breaking a 39-month winless streak in September with a victory in the Cambia Portland Classic. After playing lessons at Old Palm and The Floridian, Hallet told me, “There’s an energy there that she’s always had.”

Other than Cristie Kerr, who is 40, the top 10 players in the Race to the CME Globe were all in their 20s. Lewis, who was 13th, told the Houston Chronicle she played some of her best golf the last six to seven tournaments of 2017. “Honestly it doesn’t feel like that start to a new year,” she said. “It just feels like a little bit of a break and I’m starting up again.”

KOEPKA'S HEALING TIME: Claude Harmon III had an interesting take on the torn wrist tendon that will sidelineU.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka until the Masters. “To be honest, the time off for the injury part of it doesn’t worry me,” Harmon said, using last year as his point of reference.

Looking back to the start of 2017, Koepka missed cuts at the Farmers Insurance Open, was T-42 as defending champion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, missed cuts at the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic, finished T-48 in the no-cut WGC Mexico Championship, and didn’t play on the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Three months later, Koepka overpowered Erin Hills and tied Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open scoring record of 16 under par. Harmon used McIlroy’s third-place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in his return “as something to look at and emulate.”

The hard part is that Koepka closed out the 2017 season with a second-place finish in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and a nine-stroke win over Xander Schauffele in the Dunlop Phoenix, rising to a career high seventh in the world. But between cardio at Joey D’s gym and putting practice (once he gets doctor’s clearance), Harmon doesn’t think Koepka will look at the next three months as down time.

BIG-TIME PERFORMER: Thomas Pieters was back in the top-five of a premier tournament again, finishing T-5 in Abu Dhabi after a run of nine events at the end of 2017 that did not match the first eight months of his rookie year.

Coming off a Ryder Cup performance in 2016 that set European records for most points (4) and wins (4) by a rookie, Pieters was T-2 at the Genesis Open, T-5 at the WGC-Mexico Championship, T-4 at the Masters and solo fourth at the Bridgestone Invitational.

In a news conference after his opening-round 67, Pieters admitted it was nice having fun again and attributed the lack of enjoyment to some struggles he was having off the golf course.

“With a lot of players these days, it’s more off the course than on the course; life in general sometimes causes problems,” swing instructor Pete Cowen told me Monday morning from Dubai, without getting into specifics. “Pieters is looking a lot better. I think he’s now in a great frame of mind.”

After winning the NCAA Championship as a sophomore for Illinois in 2012, the now 25-year-old Belgian is 34th in the world, 33 spots behind his goal.

“Tom Pieters doesn’t want to be a superstar, he just wants to be the best player,” Cowen said. “That’s what drives him … what I like about him. He wants to be the best, and will do whatever it takes to be the best.”

GIFT OF LOVE: What do you give a man that has everything for his 78th birthday? For Barbara Nicklaus it was classified in a text message with a smiley face emoji as a “Very boring!!!!!” gift of two pairs of pants and a shirt.

As you can see from the above photo, just being together with his family and bride of 57 years at The Bears Club was enough.

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Golf Channel to Deliver Worldwide Coverage of the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show, "The Major of Golf Business," Tueday-Friday, Jan. 23-26

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 22, 2018, 2:45 pm

Morning Drive, Golf Central to Give Viewers Insider Access to the PGA Show with Nearly 20 Hours of Live Coverage; Golf Channel’s School of Golf Instruction Program to Originate From On-Site

Golf Channel’s Portfolio of Lifestyle Brands – GolfNow, Golf Channel Academy, Revolution Golf and World Long Drive On-Site at the PGA Show Contributing to the Network’s Comprehensive Coverage


ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2018) – Golf Channel announced plans for its comprehensive coverage of the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show – the largest golf convention and business gathering in the world – with nearly 20 hours of news and instruction coverage Tuesday, Jan. 23 – Friday, Jan. 26. Golf Channel’s coverage will span across the four days, beginning Tuesday with the “PGA Show Demo Day” from the Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge driving range in Winter Garden, Fla., and continuing Wednesday-Friday at the PGA Merchandise Show from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

With an insider look at the PGA Merchandise Show – a golf industry event that is not open to the public – Golf Channel’s coverage via Morning Drive and Golf Central will be delivered to a worldwide audience in more than 36 countries. Coverage will provide viewers live interviews with industry leaders, professional golfers from the world’s major tours, PGA of America members and a comprehensive overview of the latest products and trends for 2018 from some of the nearly 1,100 golf brands exhibiting on-site.

PGA Merchandise Show Week Programming Schedule: Jan. 23-26 (All Times Eastern)


Morning Drive

7-11 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

5-6 p.m. (Live)



School of Golf

8-9 p.m.



Morning Drive

7-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

5-6 p.m. (Live)



Morning Drive

8:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

7-8 p.m. (Live)



Morning Drive

8:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)



Golf Central

7-8 p.m. (Live)




Golf Channel’s expansive coverage of the PGA Merchandise Show will utilize several on-air personalities from the network’s news division, beginning with Charlie Rymer and Lauren Thompson offering coverage of the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day on Tuesday. In addition to Rymer and Thompson, Wednesday-Friday coverage from the PGA Show Floor will include Matt Adams, Cara Banks, Lisa Cornwell, Matt Ginella, Damon Hack, Bailey Mosier and Gary Williams.


Golf Channel’s PGA Merchandise Show on-air coverage will be available to stream via Golf Channel Digital Tuesday-Friday. Comprehensive online editorial coverage also will be available throughout the week, with contributions from writers Jay Coffin and Will Gray. Golf Channel’s social media platforms will keep viewers engaged in the conversation about what’s generating buzz at the #PGASHOW throughout the week via the network’s social media channels – @GolfChannel and @GCMorningDrive on Twitter, @GolfChannel and @GCMorningDrive on Instagram and GolfChannel and GCMorningDrive on Facebook. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will host Golf Channel’s digital and social media coverage throughout the week.


Golf Channel’s coverage of “Demo Day” will begin Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7 a.m. ET with Morning Drive airing live and on-site to highlight the latest in golf equipment from the expansive driving range at Orange County National. Rymer and Thompson will host Morning Drive on-site, featuring interviews and product demonstrations.


Coverage of the PGA Show will transition indoors to the Orange County Convention Center, Wednesday-Friday, Jan. 24-26 to give viewers an all-access tour of the PGA Show. Morning Drive and Golf Central will provide on-site reports throughout the week, with featured interviews and segments originating from the PGA Show Floor. Coverage from the Convention Center will originate from a large, multi-purpose space elevated above the PGA Show Floor, with three set configurations for interviews, along with a putting green and a golf simulator for product demonstrations. Golf Channel also will feature a “Fly Cam,” a unique camera technology made popular in televising football and other sports. Suspended above the PGA Show Floor, the Fly Cam will span more than 700 feet, giving viewers an aerial viewpoint of the vast floor and the exhibitors. New for 2018 will be a “Jib Cart,” a mobile cart with a camera jib affixed allowing high shots of the booths throughout the Show Floor.


School of Golf, Golf Channel’s signature instruction program that airs on Tuesday nights, will kick off its eighth season with a one-hour special at Demo Day on Tuesday, Jan. 23, airing in primetime from 8-9 p.m. ET. Originating from the Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO booth on the Orange County National driving range and hosted by Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal, the show will include special guests and interactions with a live audience.


In addition to Golf Channel’s on-air and digital coverage, the network’s lifestyle brands – GolfNow, World Long Drive, Golf Channel Academy and Revolution Golf will showcase their services at the PGA Show with special clinics, product demonstrations and on-site activations.


GolfNow, the industry’s leader in golf-related technology and services, will be exhibiting Wednesday-Friday from Booth #2173. In addition to showcasing advanced technologies that have created the largest tee-time marketplace in golf, GolfNow also will be educating course owners and operators about innovations and services designed to help them run their businesses more efficiently and successfully. GolfNow Business experts will be on hand at GolfNow’s 2,400-square-foot booth, offering its course partners technology demonstrations, as well as consultation on any of the GolfNow Services: Plus, a top-line focused consultative performance system for golf courses, including marketing, sales and automated pricing; Answers, a call center for golf courses, answering customer calls day and night; and Ride, a no-cost purchasing program that saves course operators from 6-35 percent on items they buy day-to-day, such as food, office supplies and agricultural products.


Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, World Long Drive competitors will be at the PGA Show to compete in a World Long Drive Bracket Challenge. Hosted by Golf Channel’s social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin and airing live via Golf Channel’s Facebook Live, the competition will take place at Golf Channel’s simulator on the Show Floor featuring eight men and four women, including World No. 2 Ryan Reisbeck, No. 3 Maurice Allen, No. 5 Trent Scruggs and 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Women’s Champion Sandra Carlborg.


Wednesday-Friday, Golf Channel Academy coaches will provide on-site instruction clinics at Golf Channel’s simulator set on the Show Floor. Wednesday’s clinics will feature driving, full swing, wedge play and putting clinics. Thursday’s clinic will include the full swing and Friday’s clinic will feature the short game, all streamed live via Golf Channel Academy’s Facebook page.


Revolution Golf, the industry’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform delivering high-quality video-based instruction, travel content and integrated e-commerce will have a significant presence at the PGA Show. Golf Channel’s newest digital acquisition, Revolution Golf will be shooting digital segments at Demo Day and throughout the PGA Show Floor, including segments with its team of instructors.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974